The bodies of Felicity Shadbolt and Monika Billen were found last week in various parts of the interior. (Supplied)
Underestimating the wrath of Australia's sun and heat can have devastating consequences, a truth that was stripped naked by two recent tragic incidents.
- The death of Felicity Shadbolt and Monika Billen in the interior of WA and NT both occurred during periods of extreme heat
- Award-winning thermal physiologist Matt Brearley said the body could be damaged during such conditions
- Dr. Brearley said proper planning was the key to avoiding hot attacks while inland expeditions
While now ultimately in the hands of the Northern Territory and the Western Australian coroner to determine the reason behind the death of German tourist Monika Billen and WA's mother of two Felicity Shadbolt, whose body was found in a separate inland investigation last week, both offered reminders of natural anger.
Thousands of kilometers apart, two inland deaths have at least one thing in common – they both occur during a period of summer temperatures that roar around 40 degrees Celsius.
Search around the mining town of Pilbara in Tom Price, for Ms. Shadbolt, and on the outskirts of Alice Springs in NT, for Ms. Billen, both of which are carried out in extreme heat.
The two women were believed to be doing physical training when they disappeared.
Ms. Shadbolt never returned from a routine morning jog on Nameless Mountain, about 10 kilometers from Tom Price.
Billen is believed to have been hiking at Emily Gap, a tourist location in the East MacDonnell Ranges, 13 km from Alice Springs.
Temperatures in both regions each peaked at 46C and 43.5C on that day.
WA police said they did not treat Shadbolt's death as suspicious.
A report on Friday suggested he might suffer a medical episode during intense heat.
Miss's body Billen was found on Wednesday, and in his case, extreme heat seemed to have taken a fatal toll.
Scientists warn of the consequences
Award-winning heat stress expert, Matt Brearley, from the National Critical Care Center and the Trauma Response Center in Darwin, has warned of the deadly consequences that can come from forest exploration or physical activity in such extreme temperatures.
"That [outback] very hot and dry, "said Dr. Brealey.
"And when it's too hot like 42 degrees, anything in the 30s and 40s is low … our bodies tend to have a hard time getting rid of heat.
"Which, for someone sitting under a tree without doing physical work, is not a problem.
"But if you move your body out, walk long distances and produce heat, that heat must leave your body, if your temperature will rise."
Immediately, if the energy continues, Dr. Brearley explains, the body will begin to react. The level of sweat increases.
The body will send blood to the skin.
"[That’s] it's usually a good idea because the air around our skin should be cooler than the temperature of our skin … but when it's very hot we absorb heat like that, unfortunately, "he said.
The symptoms increase and can become deadly
When body temperature rises, the effect becomes high.
For pedestrians who do not have access to "heat loss behavior", such as looking for shade or turning on air conditioners, the danger grows substantially.
"Since it is not available for forest explorers … they may have climbed three or four kilometers, they are now beginning to feel the effects of the heat," Dr. Brealey.
Thermal physiologist Matt Brearley says people who suffer from heat stress "may not make the most logical decision ". (ABC News: Nick Hose)
"They are far from any air conditioner … they may be really motivated to move on and achieve the goals they want to achieve.
"And if they feel the effects of heat, they might not make the most reasonable decision to get there.
"They may not understand or process that it can be a life-changing event if they continue to produce heat and keep going."
Not long after the symptoms worsen.
Headaches, nausea and lethargy can begin to spread.
"In some cases, people are so motivated that they will ignore the symptoms, or not even feel it," Dr. Brearley.
"[The symptoms are] there, but [the hiker is] so focused on reaching a certain point or reaching a certain view that they will push – to the point where their body stops functioning, where they cannot continue to walk. "
The situation can quickly become critical.
Disorientated, too hot and on the verge of collapse, the body's central nervous system begins to break down.
The severity of symptoms increases.
Severe vomiting, collapse, seizures, and, in the worst case scenario, death is often the end result of those who surrender to the heat of the Australian interior in all its extremely hot malignancy.
Planning can avoid & # 39; crucial mistakes & # 39;
Dr. Brearly's comments came as the public continued to ignore frequent urgent warnings from NT police, paramedics and park rangers to avoid walking in the bush in the heat of Central Australia.
Last week, a 60-year-old woman had to be saved while climbing the Larapinta Trail, west of Alice Springs.
Dr. Brealey said the lack of planning when hiking in the interior can have serious consequences. (Brain Caddy)
He with a group walked in the bush when he suffered an ankle injury and became dehydrated.
Earlier in the summer, two groups of tourists were found suffering from heat stress in remote Central Australia, including three adults with toddlers.
Dr Brearley, who was last week called the Accredited Exercise Scientist of the Year, said heat strokes were often caused by lack of planning or reluctance to change plans.
"I feel that if they are tourists or tourists, I feel they have planned their vacation and others, it is expensive to get there," he said.
"They want to go and see certain sites or walk on certain paths, and they will only do it regardless of the conditions.
"I think if you map important errors in the event of a heat attack, it tends to lead to planning."
With hot interior temperatures expected to continue, authorities will pray for their warnings to be noticed, and gloomy searches avoided this summer.