Dave Buschow – Dead from Dehydration
He was 29, in relatively good shape and only steps away from a fresh drink of water. Dave was in the Utah desert, but he was not alone - and he shouldn't have died.
New information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed today puzzling details about the tragedy that occurred last summer.
After only two days into a 28-day survival course Dave's skin turned pale, his body cramped, and his speech began to slur - common signs of dehydration. He even started to mistake trees for people.
He hadn't drunk any water for 10 hours in 100F (38C) heat. Oddly, he died within a short walk from a pool of water surrounded by 11 other hikers and several survival guides each carrying with them emergency supplies of water.
Venturing into the wilderness on long treks can build character, stimulate survival instincts and push your body beyond usual limits. But understanding the dangers of your adventure should be priority number one. Should Dave have given up when he felt the first signs of dehydration set in? After all, he did pay $3000 to take in the course. Should the guides have given him water and informed everyone on the excursion that they have a free ticket out of danger?
The report states he bulked up on cheese steaks before the trek to combat the amount of weight he thought he'd lose in the wilderness. Maybe he endangered himself. Regardless, while accountable for his pre-trek training, signing a waiver doesn't relieve the company from the responsibility of his death. I'd like to understand why the guides, trained to recognize the signs of severe dehydration, refused him water.
Survival exercises teach the basics of knowing how to gather
food, water and building a shelter and fire. Most of all they teach you to
survive. Cases like Dave's are rare, but they do happen and usually because
someone wasn't paying attention to common signs and symptoms. If you're not
sure what dehydration looks like or how to treat it, read our Outdoor Safety Pages.
James W. Coates,
National Park Expert