Boy survivor of US desert hike returns to France

2015-08-10 09:30
Desert. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Desert. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport - A 9-year-old French boy who survived a desert hike in which his parents appear to have died of thirst, has been flown home from New Mexico, an airport official said.

The boy, Enzo, landed with his grandmother at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Sunday as it emerged that his tourist parents may have sacrificed their own lives to save his.

Otero County Sheriff Benny House said the boy was found dehydrated but responsive near the body of his father in the White Sands National Monument on Tuesday.

Rescuers found two empty 0.6-litre water bottles close to the bodies.

"The father and mother would take one drink while they made the child take two swallows of water," House told the Alamogordo Daily News.

"It might have been why the child fared so well due to his smaller stature, plus he probably consumed more water than they did," he added.

Park rangers

House said the boy told authorities that his mother had headed back toward their car after becoming ill. He carried on with his father.

Park rangers found the mother's body on a routine patrol of the area where temperatures had been reportedly been between 37°C and 38°C.

It was only when they checked her camera and saw that she had been with two other people, Hunter said, that a search began for the boy and his father.

National Parks spokesperson Patrick O'Driscoll told the newspaper that visitors are recommended not to start hikes when the temperature was above 85° and that each person should carry at least one gallon of water.

David Steiner, 42, and his wife Ornella, 51, from the small town of Bourgogne near Reims in north-eastern France, had been on holiday in the south-western state when tragedy struck.

The boy was taken to hospital in Albuquerque where his grandmother later joined him after flying from France.

Exact cause of death

Autopsies have been carried out on the couple to determine the exact cause of death, but the results are not yet known.

Their son arrived back with his grandmother on a British Airways flight late on Sunday afternoon, an airport source told AFP.

The family wanted to ensure "maximum discretion" for his return, the source added.

The boy's grandfather, Alain Steiner, told Le Parisien daily that his son David, a keen photographer, had been planning the trip for a year and a half.

"According to the information given to me by the foreign ministry, David and Ornella appeared to have given all their water reserves to their son so he could survive. But the precise circumstances of their deaths are not yet known," he told the newspaper.

Read more on:    us  |  france

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.