Boy, 11, dies after being stranded in Death Valley for five days

By Calvin Palmer

Death Valley has lived up to its name, claiming the life of an 11-year-old boy from Las Vegas during a camping trip.

Carlos Sanchez and his 28-year-old mother, who has not been named, were stranded for five days when their vehicle got stuck in sand about 20 miles east of Trona.

Their vehicle was found yesterday after Las Vegas police reported the pair missing.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Tim Lotspeich said the mother told rescuers her son had died the day before. The family’s dachshund survived the ordeal.

After a suffering a flat tire, which the woman replaced, their Jeep got stuck in sand later that day along the northern border of the China Lake Naval Weapons Center.

The mother hiked to the top of a peak to try and get a cell phone signal but failed. The pair had no maps and quickly consumed the 24 16-oz. bottles of water and food they had packed.

The vehicle was found several miles off a dirt road in the middle of the desert and apparently got stuck when it drove over an underground coyote den and the soil collapsed, Lotspeich said.

The severely dehydrated mother was airlifted to Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas. Her condition was not immediately known.

The dachshund is being looked after by deputies.

An autopsy on the boy is due to be conducted in the next few days.

[Based on a report by the Los Angeles Times.]

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