Sister: Hiker who died in Badlands was on graduation trip

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The sister of a St. Louis man who died while hiking in the Badlands of South Dakota said Friday that he was camping as part of a trip to celebrate graduating from college and got lost trying to find his way back to his car.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that 22-year-old Maxwell Right collapsed on an unmarked trail in Badlands National Park on Wednesday. He and a friend who was traveling with him had run out of water, according to the tweet. Temperatures in the Badlands had been approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) during the first half of the week.

Right’s sister, Lucille, said that the National Park Service told the family that her brother died surrounded by rangers. Authorities have not identified his friend, who the sheriff’s office said was flown to a Rapid City hospital and placed under observation for exposure and dehydration.

The sheriff’s office initially said in its tweet that the unmarked trail has been featured in a social media challenge, but later said the men were simply following a trail on a hiking app. Lucille Right said her brother and his friend weren’t taking part in any social media challenge, saying they were on a larger trip to celebrate Maxwell graduating from Missouri S&T and had planned to visit Mt. Rushmore on Wednesday evening.

Pennington County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Helene Duhamel referred questions Friday to the National Park Service. Messages left at the park’s Badlands offices weren’t immediately returned.

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