ALAMOGORDO, N.M., Aug. 11 (UPI) — Reports Tuesday reveal that a French couple who died on Aug. 4 gave their son the only water available to keep him alive in the heat of the New Mexico desert.
Rangers at the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico found the couple, David Steiner and wife Ornella, dead on Aug. 4 presumably from dehydration. They initially spotted Ornella and later found their 9-year-old son Enzo, sunburned but alive, next to his father’s corpse. Two empty 17-ounce water bottles were also found, which is less than the gallon of water recommended for visitors to bring.
As images from Ornella’s camera later revealed, the couple and their son had been hiking across the desert at midday, in temperatures well above a hundred degrees Fahrenheit. It is presumed that the couple simply underestimated the elements of the desert although an autopsy has not yet been carried out.
Enzo Steiner was taken to a nearby hospital, where he said his dad appeared disoriented and his tongue was swollen. He kept insisting that a truck was nearby even though they were more than a mile into the trail.
It is also believed that Ornella Steiner exacerbated a previous knee injury.
The Steiners’ deaths marks the third and fourth at the park in the past 10 years.