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    National Park & Preserve Alaska

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Denali Visitor Death

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Date: May 28, 2009
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583

Gerald Focha, 76, of Danville, California died from what appear to be natural causes at the Alaska Railroad Denali Deport on Wednesday, May 27, in spite of the lifesaving efforts by personnel on scene, park rangers, and the local fire department.

The National Park Service received a report of a person suffering a possible heart attack at 4:27 p.m. on Wednesday, and rangers and an ambulance were immediately dispatched. While enroute the park’s communications center received a second call that the person was not breathing and that CPR was in progress. Upon arrival rangers found Focha was in full cardiac arrest. Ranger-EMTs and personnel from the Tri-Valley Fire Department performed advanced cardiac life support measures in an attempt to restore a pulse, but were not successful. After 40 minutes of emergency lifesaving effort, and after consultation with the park’s medical director physican, CPR and other efforts were terminated.

Focha’s wife was accompanying him. His remains were released to the Office of the State Medical Examiner.


Did You Know?

a lake reflecting a tree-covered hill

The vast landscapes of interior Alaska are changing. Large glaciers are receding, permafrost is melting and woody plants are spreading. Comparison of "then-and-now" photographs and data from major vegetation monitoring should allow detection, understanding and potential management of these changes.