Death From Exposure: A Quiet Epidemic

A dangerous and often overlooked killer lurks amongst us all. It lurks in the beautiful places we choose to visit. It lingers in plain sight. No one thinks of it while they leisurely enjoy their vacations, or camping trips, or boating excursions. When skiers and mountaineers ascend to the highest peaks or snowmobilers take to the trails it is a mere distant thought. For the most part people only hear of this vicious, and unforgiving killer once it has claimed yet another victim. This is no tabloid serial killer. There is no manhunt that exists to stop it. It kills across borders, nations, and cultures with impunity. It has no fear of prosecution. No understanding of moral or ethical law. All over the globe it kills the vulnerable, the unfortunate, the rich and the poor. It doesn’t care about politics, money, or ideology, and it has no remorse. This killers name is Hypothermia.

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Travis Loughridge died due to Hypothermia in rural Alaska. He was 27.                                (Photo courtesy of Kimberly Isaacson)

Aaron Avery spoke of his friend Travis Loughridge.

“Most of my hypothermia happened as a kid in unexpected fall weather. That’s when we really are most prone” says Stuart Falk who works in Fire and Safety in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Central Alaska was blasted by sudden -40 degree temperatures last week when Mr. Loughridge was beset by hypothermia while traveling via snowmobile to Fairbanks. “Know even the most capable, with the best planning can succumb to the elements in troubled circumstance”, Mr. Faulk added. Travis also known as “Klutch” was loved by his family, his tribe, his friends and his community. He will be missed.

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