Hiker who took social media challenge dies in South Dakota

July 21, 2022 GMT

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A man who was hiking on an unmarked trail in southwestern South Dakota that was featured in a social media challenge died when he and another hiker ran out of water, authorities said Thursday.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said 22-year-old Maxwell Right, of St. Louis, was hiking in Badlands National Park Wednesday when he collapsed and died of suspected dehydration and exposure.

A 21-year-old man from Missouri who was hiking with Right was flown to a Rapid City hospital, where he was placed under observation for exposure and dehydration. The weather in the park has approached 100 degrees most of the week.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Helene Duhamel said she didn’t know about the specifics of the challenge and would rather not advertise it “but clearly it’s out there.” Pennington County has put out numerous public service announcements warning hikers to be prepared for the elements and stay on marked trails, she said.

“We’ve said many times, you have to have enough water, water, water,” Duhamel said. “But I don’t think people understand and they underestimate the heat, especially in the Badlands.”