UPDATE: 2 hiker deaths confirmed in record-hot temperatures
PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Pima County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that one female hiker from out of state was found dead near Finger Rock, and the body of a male hiker from Europe was found about four miles up from the Ventana Canyon trail.
Crews were called out Sunday to search for a total of seven hikers. One hiker is still missing, and the search for that person has been called off for the night.
Despite repeated warnings about extreme heat and projections that Sunday would be the hottest day in 21 years, hikers hit the trails anyway.
The Southern Arizona Rescue Association assisted with the rescues.
The first rescue call came in around 11:30 a.m. for a situation in Finger Rock Canyon, in which two hikers around the age of 20 had gone off trail and were out of water. The woman died. The man was sent to the hospital.
The next rescue just after noon was for two women in the Seven Falls area. Crews reached them, provided water, and the two were able to hike to safety.
The group then worked on a rescue out of Ventana Canyon. A call came in around 2 p.m. for three men hiking who needed help. One was found on the trail and is now doing okay. One was found dead. One other is still missing.
"He had only three to four bottles of water. It was clear he made it up to Maiden Pools and refilled with the pond water up there," said SARA President Eric Davis. "A canvas bag with four bottles of water is not going to cut it on a day like today."
People are unnecessarily endangering themselves when they ignore heat warnings to go hiking, said Richard Kunz, SARA member, adding that the sheriff's department also has its rescue helicopter out, Southern Arizona Mounted Search and Rescue is helping on horseback, and the Rural/Metro Fire District responds at the trailheads to treat medical needs.
"If you can, avoid going outside. Limit outdoor activity," said Deputy Courtney Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
"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," said Rodriguez.
For this date, Tucson hit a new record high of 114 degrees at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, with the temperature still climbing.
The last time it was 114 degrees in Tucson was July 28, 1995 – nearly 21 years ago, according to the National Weather Service. It has been that temperature on two other dates: July 4, 1989 and June 22, 1988.
By 3:13 p.m. it had hit 115 degrees, tying the third-hottest temperature recorded in Tucson, according to the weather service.
Tucson News Now has a crew at the scene. Stay with us on air and online for updates.
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