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Heat Related Fatality at the Park

Oct 01, 2002
For Immediate Release
Neal Labrie/East District Ranger

Heat Related Fatality at the Park

On the afternoon of September 23, park staff responded to a report of two people suffering from dehydration on the High Peaks trail on the park's east side. Glenn Hannon, 83, and his wife, Betsy Hannon, 79, had begun their hike from the Moses Spring parking lot at 8:30 a.m. The hike brought them to the Scout Peak area, a trek that includes a 1,300-foot elevation gain over about two miles.

The mid-day high temperature hit 106 degrees, and the Hannons had only a soda and a small snack over the course of the day. At 3:30 p.m., a visitor contacted rangers and told them that two elderly people were suffering heat problems on the High Peaks trail. Ranger Kyle Johnson accompanied him up the trail. They first encountered Glenn Hannon, who was in stable but serious condition, then continued another half mile up the trail to Betsy Hannon. Within a few minutes of their arrival, she went into cardiac arrest and Johnson began CPR. Ranger Eduardo Alfaro had meanwhile reached Glenn Hannon and begun treating him for severe heat exhaustion and preparing him for evacuation.

California Division of Forestry personnel joined the rangers and began assisting with evacuation and medical care. After over an hour of no cardiac function, medics and life flight nurses were able to temporarily restore Betsy Hannon's pulse, but she succumbed during her flight to the hospital. Glenn Hannon was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was treated and released in the evening. Nineteen park staff members from all divisions participated in the operation.

This was the second major heat-related case in the park within three weeks.

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