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