Hiker rescued in searing Arizona heat after three days without water

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 04, 2015 11:20 AM

(Reuters) - A 58-year-old hiker in Arizona who had gone at least three days without food or water and endured temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) has been rescued in a remote canyon, officials said.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter crew searching for the hiker, whose name was not released, spotted his backpack and sleeping bag strewn on the ground just off the Arizona Trail, about 12 miles (19 km) west of the town of Payson, the department said in a statement on Wednesday.

The crew later saw the hiker nearby, about 800 feet (244 meters) down a canyon where he apparently sought water in the greenery, state paramedic Chris Hecht said in a statement.

He was lying with one hand in the air but too weak to turn his head toward the helicopter, Terry Miyachi, the aviation commander on the crew, said in a statement.

Officials said the hiker was airlifted in serious to critical condition, and the Arizona Republic newspaper reported he was treated at a hospital and released on Wednesday.

Eleven days before his rescue, the hiker set out from Lake Roosevelt, which is about 40 miles (64 km) south of where the helicopter crew found him. After getting lost, he used his cell phone to text his wife, who notified authorities, the Arizona Department of Public Safety statement said. He went three or four days without food or water, it said.

The Arizona Trail stretches more than 800 miles (1,287 km) from Mexico to Utah.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)