North Face co-founder Doug Tompkins, 72, dies after kayaking accident


North Face Co-Founder Dies In Kayaking Accident
North Face Co-Founder Dies In Kayaking Accident

Doug Tompkins, the co-founder of outerwear company The North Face, has died following a kayaking accident in Chile, according to a division of that country's Ministry of Health. He was 72 years old.

The conservationist and outdoorsman was kayaking on the General Carrera Lake in Chile with a group of people when he and five others were tossed into the water.

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Servicio de Salud Aysen, a branch of the Ministry of Health, said Tompkins died of severe hypothermia after being admitted into Coyhaique Regional Hospital with a body temperature of 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit, well below the normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius).

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Though three of the other kayakers made it safely to land, Tompkins and two others remained in the water for an hour until officials from the Chilean Navy arrived to rescue them, according to news reports. Tompkins was transported by helicopter to the hospital.

"In these extremely serious cases of hypothermia, survival is very rare," Carlos Salazar, director of the hospital's emergency unit, told Chilean news site EMOL.

Jorge Tarud, a Chilean politician who oversees the district that General Carrera Lake is in, offered his condolences to the Tompkins family.

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Tompkins also co-founded clothing company Esprit, but left the business world in 1989 and dedicated himself to conservationist efforts. In the early 1990s, he began buying land in Chile, in hopes of preserving it, though his efforts were criticized by local environmentalists who feared the possibility of ulterior motives.

Just last month, Tompkins was interviewed by Outside Magazine, which called him the "21st century Teddy Roosevelt."

The North Face has not immediately responded to Mashable's request for comment.

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