Authorities discovered the remains of a 63-year-old San Francisco resident in a thermal pool last month at Death Valley National Park but was only reported last week.
On Friday, the park service and the Inyo County sheriff’s office said that the body of the victim, Donald Vanneman III, was found on December 20, 2020, at the Saline Valley Warm Springs campground at the park. Officials confirmed that they considered the man’s death to be accidental.
Thermal Pool Death
Park authorities closed the campground, similar to the other areas of the national park, due to the regional stay-at-home order. However, one park volunteer observed a parked vehicle at the site, and two park visitors later found the victim’s body in the Palm Springs source pool.
Authorities noted that park rules prohibited bathing inside the source pool and urged visitors to use the campground bathing tubs. However, the tubs were closed and drained because of the coronavirus restrictions, the Mercury News reported.
Visitors have to drive 55 miles, most of the way driving through a washboard dirt road, to get to the Saline Valley Warm Springs from the town of Big Pine.