Missouri man dies of dehydration, exposure in South Dakota Badlands

With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees that day, officials say the hikers ran out of water.

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Ambulance lights
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INTERIOR, S.D. — One hiker died and another was hospitalized after suffering from dehydration and exposure while hiking an unmarked trail in Badlands National Park.

According to the Pennington County Sheriff's Office, 22-year-old Maxwell Right, of St. Louis, and a 21-year-old male, also from Missouri, were hiking through the Badlands on Wednesday when they ran out of water.

Though it's unclear where exactly in the park the pair were hiking, temperatures in the interior reached 101 degrees on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Rapid City.

During the hike, Right collapsed and died. Officials say the presumed cause of death is dehydration and exposure to the elements.

When park rangers were able to locate the two, the surviving man was airlifted to a Rapid City hospital for observation and treatment of dehydration and exposure. His status is unknown.


Hikers are reminded to remain on marked trails and carry sufficient supplies when participating in outdoor activities.

Emergency personnel responding to the call include those from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Badlands National Park Law Enforcement, Life Flight, Wall Ambulance, Rapid City Ambulance and Interior Volunteer Fire Department.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Dunteman covers general and breaking news as well as crime in the Mitchell Republic's 17-county coverage area. He grew up in Harrisburg, and has lived in South Dakota for over 20 years. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 after earning his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at, or on Twitter @HRDunt.
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