Identity of tourists dead at Joshua Tree revealed

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on August 26, 2011

Two European tourists were yesterday identified as the couple discovered dead in a Californian desert.

The bodies of Netherlands-based music promoter Mr Augustinus Van Hove and girlfriend, Helena Nuellett, a German national, were discovered dead in Joshua Tree National Park at the start of the week.

Officials say that the couple probably died from over exposure to heat as temperatures soared in the area. They drove into the park before midday on Monday, driving along a remote dirt road heading towards Arizona.

Park spokesman Joe Zarki explained that it never takes long to go from being in trouble to then being in a life-threatening situation around the Joshua Tree.bHeat exhaustion and heat strokes might happen very quickly, with your brain and body malfunctioning seriously, Zarki explained.

According to Zarki, the road had signs that warned drivers it should be used by capable four-wheel-drive vehicles only. At present, the area is experiencing a heat-wave with temperatures reaching as high as 41C (106F) on the day of their deaths.

Just seven hours after they had entered the park, another couple found the corpse of Mr Van Hove right on the edge of a road, namely Black Eagle Mine.

Ms Nuellett, aged 38, was discovered roughly a mile away, while their rented vehicle was found an additional five miles away on the same road. The Joshua Tree National Park sprawls over more than 1,200 sq miles (3,100 sq km) of the rugged Colorado and Mojave deserts and attracts about 1.4m visitors a year.

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