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Heatstroke claims a novice hiker

October 21, 2003|From Times staff reports

He drank plenty of water and took frequent breaks while hiking the five miles up Old Boney Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. Yet on the way down, John Andrew Doyle, 22 and healthy, collapsed and later died of heatstroke.

Doyle, a recent college graduate and novice hiker, was accompanied by two colleagues with more experience. The trio planned a 10-mile round-trip trek from the trail head in Newbury Park beginning at about 11 a.m. on a hot and sunny Sept. 20.

About a mile into the hike, Doyle complained of being hot. He stopped long enough to change out of his dark shirt into a friend's light-colored T-shirt. After resting at the trail's pinnacle, Doyle became flushed and disoriented and fell several times, authorities said.

At first, his friends blamed the stumbling on the rugged terrain. When they realized he was seriously ill, one ran nearly three miles for help. After rescuers in a helicopter found Doyle, near Danielson Monument in Pt. Mugu State Park, he went into cardiac arrest. Workers tried to revive him, and he was packed in ice at the hospital. His body temperature had soared to more than 107 degrees.

From Times staff reports

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