ALAMOGORDO, NM (AP) — A 27-year-old hiker who disappeared while visiting White Sands National Park has been found dead, authorities said Friday.
New Mexico State Police and Southern New Mexico Park officials reported that rescue teams discovered the body of Brad Utegaar of Wausau, Wisconsin earlier this week after a search launched over the holiday weekend. A military helicopter and state and federal officers assisted in the effort.
Utegaar’s car had been parked at the Alkali Flats Trail for two days. His body was found about 3.22 kilometers northeast of the trail.
State Police Officer Ray Wilson said there appeared to be no foul play and Utegaar had a backpack and water bottles with him.
Utegaard’s family told authorities in New Mexico that he was traveling alone across the country.
Several people have died among the white sand dunes over the years, and park officials warned again on Friday of the dangers of hiking in extreme temperatures because there is no shade or water along the park trails. Exactly one year ago, a hiker from northern New Mexico was found dead in the park.
Officials recommended hikers bring at least 1 gallon (3.79 liters) of water per person per day and high-energy snacks as well as a hat and sunscreen.