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One Hiker Is Rescued, Another Is Dead

Arizona couple went missing in Death Valley National Park
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2021 1:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – A young congressional staffer has died after getting stranded for days in Death Valley National Park. Alexander Lofgren, 32, was pronounced dead after his rescue from a remote location in the park, according to a post by the Inyo County Sheriff's Office in California. Lofgren's girlfriend, 27-year-old Emily Henkel, was airlifted to a hospital, and there was no immediate word on her condition, reports SFGate. Lofgren worked for Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, per the Arizona Republic. The Tucson pair, considered experienced hikers, drove into the park for a camping trip but failed to return as scheduled on Sunday. They were declared missing on Tuesday, and searchers scouring the park came across their Subaru Forester on Thursday with a note reading, "Two flat tires, headed to Mormon Point, have three days’ worth of water.”

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A search helicopter spotted them from the air the same day, but initial attempts to reach them in the steep terrain were unsuccessful. It wasn't until Friday morning that crews were able to remove them from a ledge, about 2 miles away from their planned destination. Sheriff Jeff Hollowell described it as a "tremendously difficult operation in a very unforgiving geographic area," per the AP. In a statement, Rep. Grijavla paid tribute to Lofgren. “To know Alex was to know someone who loved life, loved his family, and loved helping others," he wrote. "Words cannot begin to describe the void this immeasurable loss leaves." Lofgren was an Army vet who specialized in helping other veterans in his work. (Read more Death Valley National Park stories.)

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