News Release

Two Visitor Fatalities in Big Bend National Park

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Date: June 24, 2023
Contact: Tom VandenBerg, 432-477-1107

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TEXAS – On Friday, June 23 at approximately 6:00 pm, Big Bend National Park’s Communications Center received a call requesting emergency assistance along the Marufo Vega Trail. A father and his two stepsons from Florida were hiking the Marufo Vega Trail in extreme heat. Temperatures at the time were 119 F. The youngest, age 14, fell ill along the trail and lost consciousness. The father departed the scene to hike back to their vehicle to find help while the other brother, aged 21, attempted to carry his brother back to the trailhead.

A team of Park Rangers and U.S. Border Patrol Agents reached the scene at approximately 7:30 pm and located the young victim deceased along the trail. A search was then initiated for the father. At approximately 8:00 pm, his vehicle was located crashed over the embankment at the Boquillas Overlook. The 31-year-old male was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash.

"Our entire park community sends our deep condolences to the family and great appreciation to the dedicated first responders who reached the scene under extreme conditions," said Park Information Officer Tom VandenBerg.

The Marufo Vega Trail winds through extremely rugged desert and rocky cliffs within the hottest part of Big Bend National Park. No shade or water makes this strenuous trail dangerous to attempt in the heat of summer. Big Bend is currently experiencing extreme heat with daily highs reaching 110-119 F at low elevations and along the Rio Grande.

This incident remains under investigation. There are no further details at this time.

Last updated: June 26, 2023

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PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129



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