Update July 4: The California State Park Service has cancelled this year's sheep count due to the death and will be examining safety protocols.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo courtesy of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
June 23, 2021 (Borrego Springs) Updated July 25 – A hike into Palm Canyon within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to leave water in preparation for the annual desert bighorn sheep count turned deadly Saturday afternoon. Medics were called to rescue a pair of hikers in distress around 12:40 p.m.
Cal Fire Captain Frank LoCoco told CBS 8, “One of those hikers succumbed to that heat illness and was declared deceased at the scene, and the other was transported to the hospital in critical condition.” The hiker was identified by the Medical Examiner on June 25 at Donald White of Culver City. Fox 5 reports that he was a volunteer participating in the annual desert bighorn sheep count.
A firefighter from Borrego Springs also collapsed during the rescue operation, LoCoco said.