French pair who died in US desert likely saved son: po­lice

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A French cou­ple who died dur­ing an af­ter­noon hike across the sear­ing New Mexico desert likely saved their 9-year-old son by giv­ing him two sips of wa­ter for each one they took be­fore the sup­ply ran out, New Mexico po­lice said Fri­day.

The boy was de­hy­drated but in re­mark­ably good shape when he was found along­side his dead fa­ther on a trail in the White Sands Na­tional Mon­u­ment, Otero County Sher­iff Benny House said.

The fa­ther and son were found Tues­day about an hour af­ter park rangers found the mother dead.

“That may be why he fared so well, is he was a lot smaller and prob­a­bly had twice as much wa­ter,” House said. “He was well- hy­drated, com­pared to the other two.”

House iden­ti­fied the cou­ple as David Steiner, 42, and his wife, Or­nella Steiner, 51. The boy’s name wasn’t re­leased. They were tourists from the small town of Bour­gogne, near the city of Reims, France.

The cou­ple ap­pears to have died of heat-re­lated causes, House said. An au­topsy to de­ter­mine the of­fi­cial cause of death was pend­ing, ac­cord­ing to the state med­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tor’s of­fice.

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