Frederick McMichael, 39, of Irvine, California died on Saturday, November 19 while hiking in Joshua Tree National Park. McMichael was hiking with a number of companions on the Lost Horse Loop Trail on Saturday afternoon when he suffered an apparent heart attack. Efforts at emergency resuscitation were not successful and on the advice of medical personnel, resuscitation efforts were suspended at 6:10 pm. The exact cause of death is under investigation by the Riverside County Coroner's Office.
After McMichael collapsed, several of his companions went to get help and reported the incident at the park's West Entrance Station. Park rangers hiked to the victim to render emergency care and a Mercy Air helicopter flew over the scene, coordinating communication with medical personnel at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.
Due to the remote, rugged location of the incident, darkness, and the safety of rescue personnel, the decision was made to not remove the body until the following morning when the Coroner arrived. Park rangers and a Joshua Tree Search and Rescue volunteer remained with and secured the victim overnight. McMichael's body was removed by a Riverside County Sheriff's Department helicopter on Sunday morning.
The Lost Horse Mine Loop Trail is an 8.4 mile hike that gains approximately 520 feet in elevation as it meanders over open, rocky hillsides covered with Joshua trees and pinyon pines. A principal feature of the trail is the well-preserved stamp mill where gold ore was processed at the highly successful Lost Horse Mine.