CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP/KRQE) –The investigation continues into how a father and son died while hiking near the Carlsbad Caverns after nearly a dozen agencies spent days searching for the pair visiting from Texas.
Authorities believe heat may have been a factor.
They say temperatures there climbed to nearly 110 degrees over the Father’s Day weekend when 57-year-old Robert Stuart Pluta and his son, 21-year-old Bobby, went missing.
Carlsbad officials say they received a call from Robert’s wife on Monday telling them she hadn’t heard from the two since last Wednesday.
She told officials she tried calling them numerous times over the weekend and even called the hotel they were staying at, but could not get in touch with them.
Park rangers began searching the roads and eventually found their truck at the Rattlesnake Canyon Trailhead.
Soon after, a search and rescue was launched by State Police. By Monday night, crews discovered the body of the son about a mile and a half away from the truck.
Tuesday morning, crews found the body of the father about a mile away from where they found the son.
According to family members, the father-son-duo were avid and experienced hikers.
The two had not applied for an overnight permit and were apparently just on a day’s hike.
The Eddy County medical examiner’s office is investigating both deaths.