San Francisco man drowned in Death Valley hot spring after entering illegally

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and the National Park Service report an accidental death of a man at Saline Valley Warm Springs on December 20, 2020. Donald Vanneman III was a 63-year-old resident of San Francisco.

Warm Springs Campground, along with all other Death Valley National Park campgrounds, is temporarily closed due to California’s Regional Stay at Home Orders. The volunteer campground host noticed Mr. Vanneman’s vehicle, but was unable to find him early on December 20. Later that day, two park visitors discovered his body in the Palm Springs source pool.

National Park Service regulations prohibit entry directly into the source pool at Palm Springs. Bathing is normally allowed in the man-made soaking tubs, however those are currently drained and closed due to COVID restrictions.