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Morocco Overland: From the Atlas to the Sahara - 4WD, Motorcycle, Van, Mountain Bike

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  #1  
Old 10 Jun 2012
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Two portuguese died from Heat Exhaustion

Just want to share some sad news with you all.

Last Tuesday 2 portuguese, Carlos Ramos, 39 years ols and younger brother António José Ramos 35 years old,ridding Hondas Varadero 1000 died near Erfound.

From what I could gather,3 bikes where doing a piste near or on the Erg Chebbi, with lots of sand ridding, apparently getting stuck often, and having to work hard to dig the bikes out.

On what became the 2 brothers last time stuck in sand , they where unable to release the bikes from the sand. Their friend noticed they where not talking coherently and decided to go find help alone.

When he returned 40 minutes latter with help they where dead .

It's still to early to know what really happened, the bodies are going to autopsy, but first indications is that they dehidrated badly, all that protective clothing, helmets, heavy bikes ( varaderos ) and with all the rush to release the bikes and finish the piste they didn't notice they where dehidrating.

I don't know what temperature was there, but my guess is that it must be hot, in Ourzazate max air temp was 38, min 22.

The lesson I take is simple ,to take plenty of water, drink,be carefull what time of the year to go. Going to the desert is like the sea, must be respected all the time.

If anyone of the forum members understands a litle of Portuguese you can read the full story here : Dois irmãos morrem de exaustão em prova todo-o-terreno - Portugal - DN

Has one final note to this tragedy, they died on their mother's birthday .

Tito
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Last edited by clubman; 10 Jun 2012 at 12:04.
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Old 10 Jun 2012
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Sad news indeed.
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Old 10 Jun 2012
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Very sad

Quote:
Originally Posted by clubman View Post

When he returned 40 minutes latter with help they where dead .


The lesson I take is simple ,to take plenty of water, drink,be carefull what time of the year to go. Going to the desert is like the sea, must be respected all the time.
Indeed sad; 40 minutes is more than enough time to die of hyperthermia = heatstroke, which is far more serious than heat exhaustion.

So, a further lesson is to know about this issue and be able to spot the symptoms, early, and know what to do about such instances - intervening in cases of heat exhaustion early is preferable to trying to deal with heat stroke:-
BBC - Health: Heatstroke

Bottom line: heat stroke can lead to death very quickly and it needs urgent treatment to reduce the patients' core body temperature.
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Old 10 Jun 2012
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Hi Walkabout, that's what I meant to say, just didn't know the right word, everything points to heatstroke.

Tito
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Old 10 Jun 2012
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Please note a strange phenomenon: When close to heatstroke, you stop sweating !
And about the confusion: I was close to a heatstroke on a bicycle trip through Australia and after lying down in the shade, under wet clothing, I wanted to continue, but I had to give up packing my thermarest, as I couldn't get all the air out, which normally don't give me any problems.
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Old 11 Jun 2012
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Sad news!


"40 minutes is more than enough time to die of hyperthermia = heatstroke, which is far more serious than heat exhaustion."

I didn't know that it could take only 40 minutes......a lesson learnt.
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Old 11 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Hi Walkabout, that's what I meant to say, just didn't know the right word, everything points to heatstroke.
Tito
Thanks; I just wanted to put out that information - it can't do anything for the poor unfortunate guys who died in Morocco, but maybe someone can benefit from these sad cases.


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Originally Posted by pbekkerh View Post
Please note a strange phenomenon: When close to heatstroke, you stop sweating !
And about the confusion: I was close to a heatstroke on a bicycle trip through Australia and after lying down in the shade, under wet clothing, I wanted to continue, but I had to give up packing my thermarest, as I couldn't get all the air out, which normally don't give me any problems.
A good example of the symptoms and well described! Even the simple things become difficult to achieve, and the mind becomes confused by the bad state of the body, leading to poor decisions; in your case, you wanted to push on - I have seen people with the same "wrong" decision process in the mountains in bad weather when "exposure" can lead to hypothermia.

I have seen more examples of hypothermia ( Hypothermia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) being in the UK, usually, but the symptoms of each are quite similar despite the very different circumstances that prevail - they can both result in death, and rapidly.

The human body can only survive in a very tight range of core body temperature; too high or too low is not good!!
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Old 11 Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by anaconda moto View Post
Sad news!


"40 minutes is more than enough time to die of hyperthermia = heatstroke, which is far more serious than heat exhaustion."

I didn't know that it could take only 40 minutes......a lesson learnt.
Every single body will react slightly differently in these circumstances but the end state is just a matter of time if treatment/preventative measures are not done; that is the really sad aspect, because such incidents of death are preventable, in the main.
Two or more people together, riding bikes or whatever, should look out for the symptoms in each other = the buddy/buddy system, because those entering the early, mild, stages of both hyper- and hypo-thermia will be the last to realise what is happening.
The first person who identifies the issue needs to take charge and deal with it; those suffering from the symptoms will probably resist, wanting to carry out a bad decision while in a confused state.
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Last edited by Walkabout; 15 Jun 2012 at 13:30.
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Old 11 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbekkerh View Post
Please note a strange phenomenon: When close to heatstroke, you stop sweating !
I'm especially pointing this out, because many sites don't mention this.

On my trip I noticed that my jersey was dry, but I just thought that my new jersey was very good at transmitting sweat to the outside. I didn't recognise the symptoms as it wasn't mentioned when I researched this prior to the trip.

My wish to push on was selfpreservation. I had been lying for half an hour in the shade, continually drinking and wetting my clothes and did feel better. I also knew that there was a watertank, 25 km ahead and a chance to meet other people.

I did bring a satellite emergency beacon, epirb, but didn't find that my situation warranted the use of it just yet.
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Old 16 Jun 2012
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Insane bikes - Tragic Story

A really sad story

If there is another lesson here (apart from Dont be in Morocco in Summer) its that guys, PLEASE dont take heavy road bikes like Varaderos to ride Dakar Pistes or sand dunes.

Its nuts. Its ridiculous. Its insane.

This big bikes for Adventure routes thing is really going to far. When are people going to learn. They are just for the asphalt. Its one thing making yourself utterly miserable trying to ride a Varadero or Super Tenere or 1200 Triumph Explorer across dunes, dakar pistes or other remote off road routes, its another thing altogether when the risk of that misjudgment of your / the bike's capabilities is death
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Old 16 Jun 2012
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Bad news !!
I was on the same piste, back the Erg Chebbi !!! last week !!
easy to be lost !!....and 40°
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Old 16 Jun 2012
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So sorry to hear about all three of these people. Especially for the two poor souls who died, but it can't have been nice to come back to your friends like that, either.

I agree that large bikes have limitations. I'm going to Morocco next Summer (it's the one time in the year when I get the time to do so), but am going to be be as sensible as I can with my F800GS. I like the idea of going off the beaten track, but will draw the line at major sand / pistes. Especially as my experience is not high with these conditions; the name above is an aspirational one!

My thoughts are with their families.
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Old 17 Jun 2012
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Quote:
... Insane bikes
Shocking how quickly it can all go wrong, but IMO the size of the bikes was not the main issue - scores do Moroccan pistes (98% stony) every year on giant Advs and manage what little sand there is with a bit of a fright.

It was just the wrong time of year. When it's hotter than body temp, exposed on a bike the margin for error becomes very small. One little problem (unsuitable tyres, falling over, lack of water, vapour lock) and it becomes a matter of survival.
Iirc, in 2008 a tourist died sitting in a punctured car near Remilia while her partner staggered around looking for a phone signal. And before the road was built, others have perished on the short drive back from Merzouga to Erfoud.

None of this would have been a drama in the cool seasons.

Ch

Last edited by Chris Scott; 17 Jun 2012 at 15:26.
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Old 17 Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Their friend noticed they where not talking coherently and decided to go find help alone.

When he returned 40 minutes latter with help they where dead .

My thoughts are with their families.
"So sorry to hear about all three of these people."

Linking these two together, this 3rd guy will blame himself for a very long time; that is the nature of such incidents, increasingly as time passes.
The one who survives asks himself how that came to be, and, and ............. it goes on for a long time.
I hope that he continues to ride, all in due course.

+ for any single one of the unfortunate chain of events it can be survived (while those involved don't even realise how close they have got to a non-happy ending) but putting them all together becomes a litany of decisions, chance and choices - "there by the grace of" go all of us.
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Old 17 Jun 2012
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How terrible for them, I was there in May and it was hot then. No way i'd take a big bike on the dunes it's madness.
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