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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Alex Riggins

Mountain biker dies after helping hikers who had no water, food in scorching heat

A mountain biker died Saturday in the heat of the San Diego County desert after he and three other riders spent hours helping four hikers who had no food or water, a Cal Fire captain said Sunday.

Authorities did not release the name, age or other details about the person who died, and it was unclear if the four hikers who required rescue were recreating or had crossed the nearby border.

The ordeal began around 2:45 p.m. Saturday when the mountain bikers called for help after encountering the hikers in the Carrizo Gorge area near DeAnza Springs, according to Cal Fire Capt. Brent Pascua, who said it was 106 degrees when firefighters arrived in the area.

Two of the mountain bikers stayed with the hikers, while the other two rode about five miles to the trailhead to rendezvous with emergency personnel and provide the other group's coordinates, Pascua said.

A Cal Fire helicopter crew hoisted the four hikers to safety, Pascua said. Medical personnel checked all four of them and treated them at the scene, but none required hospitalization.

After the helicopter rescue, the two mountain bikers who'd stayed with the hikers began riding back to the trailhead, but they became separated along the way, Pascua said. Only one of them made it back.

When the other bikers set out to search for the missing man, they found him unconscious about a quarter-mile away, Pascua said. They carried him up the trail and placed him in an air-conditioned pickup until an ambulance arrived.

But paramedics and firefighters were unable to revive the stricken rider, and he died at the scene at 5:45 p.m., Pascua said.

No information was available Sunday about his cause of death.

Pascua said the incident was a reminder for anyone recreating during the summer heat to bring "plenty of water" while doing so.

"Try to plan activities earlier in the day when the temperatures are cooler," Cal Fire San Diego wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. "Also, hike in a group and let friends and family know where you'll be and what time you expect to finish."


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