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Belgian tourist found dead at White Sands National Monument

September 14, 2018 GMT

WHITE SANDS NATIONAL MONUMENT, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico authorities are investigating the death of a Belgian tourist at White Sands National Monument.

Monument officials said in a statement Thursday the man was found Wednesday unresponsive about a half-mile (less than a kilometer) from the Alkali Flat trailhead.

His name was not made public. Authorities have not determined a cause of death.

The search was prompted by an unattended vehicle in the parking lot as rangers prepared to close the monument for the evening.

The high temperature at White Sands reached 97 degrees (36C) Fahrenheit on Wednesday.

There’s no shade or water along any of the monument’s trails.

Officials say visitors need to be prepared for the desert environment, especially during the summer.

They recommend hikers start early and take plenty of food and water.