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73-Year-Old Austin Man Dies While Hiking Alone In Big Bend National Park

By Sally Beauvais

According to officials in Big Bend National Park, an unaccompanied elderly hiker from Austin collapsed and stopped breathing on a popular trail in the Chisos Mountains Saturday, October 5.

Park visitors found the man near the Emory Peak Trail junction on Boot Canyon Trail around 12:30 P.M. and called 911. The hikers tried to perform CPR for several hours before park rangers and Border Patrol agents were able to reach the scene on foot.

Officials were unable to revive him.

According to the park's Chief Interpreter Tom VandenBerg, it's unclear what caused the man's collapse. VandenBerg said he was an experienced hiker who had visited national parks across the U.S.

"It’s always a good idea to let someone know where you're going and when you’ll be back," VandenBerg said of hiking in the sprawling, isolated West Texas park.

He noted that visitors found the man relatively quickly, given it was a busy Saturday on a well-traveled trail.

"Our entire park family extends sincere condolences to the hiker’s family and friends,” VandenBerg wrote in a press release.

The man is the third person to die in Big Bend National Park this year, after a Fort Bliss soldier slipped and fell into the Rio Grande in mid-May, and a Friendswood man was found dead in extreme heat off the Marufo Vega Trail in July.

The man's family has requested his name remain private.

Sally Beauvais is a reporter at Marfa Public Radio.