Audrey Jensen | Arizona Republic
Troy Warren for PhoenixNewsAndTalk.Com
A woman in her 30s who was visiting Phoenix from out of town was found dead on Friday after she hiked up Camelback Mountain, officials said.
At about 1 p.m., a man called 911 after he returned from hiking Camelback Mountain and said he could not find the woman.
Fire officials said the two started their hike together on Echo Canyon Trail earlier in the day but at one point, the woman turned around halfway because she was overheated and the man continued to the top of the mountain.
Capt. Rob McDade, a spokesperson for Phoenix Fire Department, said the two planned to meet back at the parking lot, but when the man returned, he could not find the woman and called 911. All of her belongings were inside of the car, but the woman was not, officials said.
Phoenix technical rescue teams arrived and deployed 30 rescuers on the mountain for an extensive search to find the woman, McDade said. Phoenix police also utilized a helicopter to search the area.
At about 4:40 p.m., the woman was found off the Echo Canyon Trail adjacent to a home on the northeast side of the mountain, according to fire officials. She was found unresponsive and beyond resuscitation efforts and was pronounced dead.
Phoenix police were leading the death investigation, McDade said.
Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, a spokesperson for Phoenix police, said foul play was not suspected and that the cause of the woman’s death would be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office.
The woman’s death came about two weeks after the Phoenix Park and Recreation Board voted in a special meeting to temporarily restrict access to several popular trails, including Echo Canyon and Cholla trails on Camelback Mountain, during periods of high heat.
The restrictions, which would close trailheads from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Sept. 30 when the National Weather Service issues an excessive heat watch, drew backlashfrom avid hikers in the area.
The temporary restrictions were prompted by a letter sent to the board from the United Phoenix Firefighters Association Local 493, a firefighter union.
The letter said 12 Phoenix firefighters were sent home for heat-related issues, including two who were hospitalized with acute renal failure from dehydration and exhaustion, after three back-to-back mountain rescues on June 16 during the hottest part of the day, which had a high of 116 degrees, the letter said.
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