FD: 69-year-old man rescued from Camelback Mountain

PHOENIX - A 69-year-old man had to be airlifted off a Phoenix mountain Saturday afternoon after succumbing to heat exhaustion, a fire official said.

Phoenix Fire Captain Ruben Saavedra said crews found the man about 3/4 of the way up a trail on Camelback Mountain.

The victim, visiting from New York, had hiked to the top of Echo Canyon trail, and was on his way back down when he started having trouble.

A woman who identified herself as the man’s daughter said he called her when he couldn’t keep walking.

“‘I can’t make it,’” the daughter, Mel Torres, said her dad told her.

The man was airlifted down the mountain by Phoenix fire crews.

Saavedra said the man was talking and appeared in good spirits.

The man was well-prepared for the hike, Saavedra said.

The hiker had plenty of water, loose-fitting clothes, and his cell phone.

Still, the desert heat overwhelmed him.

“We think we’re invincible, no one’s invincible,” said another hiker, Sarah Thomas, who had just hiked the same trail.

She and her hiking partner said they, too, got dehydrated at points, and had to hide under rocks for shade.

Thomas wondered who pays for mountain rescues, when they’re necessary.

The city does, Saavedra said. Costs vary, with the most expensive element being helicopter fuel. 

Ambulance costs and hospital expenses still apply.



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