At least four hikers collapsed and died over the weekend in Arizona, their deaths likely the result of an historic heat wave which saw temperatures rise to as high as 120 degrees in some places across the state.
On Saturday, around 1:30 p.m., emergency responders were called to the Peralta Trail on the Superstition Mountains near the town of Gold Canyon when Anthony Quatela III of Phoenix and a friend ran out of water.
The 25-year-old Quatela had been hiking with his companion since roughly 7:30 a.m. and began exhibiting signs of heat illness when the duo’s water supply was depleted.
With temperatures touching 111 degrees in the Superstition Mountains, the officials with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department say Quatela went unconscious from the heat exposure and never recovered.
His was the first of a handful of deaths from the intense heat across the state.
On Sunday morning, a still-unnamed 28-year-old personal trainer died after setting out to mountain bike the Desert Vista Trail in Phoenix.
According to officials, she left with her friends, who were doctors, on the trail at roughly 6 a.m. but by around 9 a.m., the personal trainer told her friends she was too tired to continue. She collapsed and lost her pulse, and despite the CPR efforts of her friends, could not be revived.
Her death was followed by the passing of two hikers in Tucson, who died in separate incidents.
The first, a female hiker believed to be in her early twenties and from out of state, was on the Finger Rock Trail with a male hiking partner when she lost her way according to police officials. A rescue call went out just before noon, but the woman died before a rescue helicopter could reach the pair.
Later that afternoon, three male hikers called for rescue while exploring a trail in Ventana Canyon. One of the hikers, who authorities believed to be from Europe, succumbed to the heat prior to rescue crews arriving while another member of the trio was successfully rescued. The third member of the party is still missing.
According to Tucson.com, yesterday’s temperatures reached 115 degrees in Tucson, making it the third-hottest day in city history.
Lack of preparation was a common theme among all of the tragic deaths, according to rescue officials.
“If you can, avoid going outside. Limit outdoor activity,” Deputy Courtney Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, told Tucson News Now. “It’s definitely not worth the risk and as you can see here it’s a tragic thing that happened today where you lose two people in one day to the same likeness, heat-related illness.”
“I think something like this could have been prevented, but unfortunately it happened, and I think the best thing we can do is learn from the situation, and anybody who’s out there braving the heat, hitting Camelback Mountain, or getting on their mountain bike needs to be aware that they are not invincible, no matter what age you are,” a local personal trainer told AZFamily.com.
“I think we kind of have this culture where we wear a badge of honor by doing extreme stuff like that, people will go on social media and brag about hiking Camelback in the extreme heat, when the fact of the matter is that’s a really bad idea when it gets to this type of temperature. Honestly, just go inside. Hit the treadmill.”
More from GrindTV