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Good Samaritan mountain biker dies after helping dehydrated hikers in extreme California heat

A group of mountain bikers helped rescue crews get to four hikers in San Diego County suffering from dehydration Saturday, when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees.
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A mountain biker died Saturday after helping to get emergency crews to a group of hikers who were suffering dehydration in California's San Diego County.

A group of cyclists in Jacumba found four hikers who had no food or water and were experiencing heat exhaustion, Cal Fire Capt. Brent Pascua told NBC San Diego. Two of the cyclists went to the trailhead to meet with emergency crews and give GPS coordinates to the hikers.

"Once the four hikers were lifted to safety, they required no further treatment," Pascua said. "That's when the last two mountain bikers rode back to the trailhead to meet up with everyone. And somewhere in between there, the last two got separated."

Cal Fire San Diego crews in the area of Carrizo Gorge after a report Saturday that four hikers were suffering from dehydration.
Cal Fire San Diego crews in the area of Carrizo Gorge after a report Saturday that four hikers were suffering from dehydration.Cal Fire San Diego

Emergency crews found one cyclist, who was not identified, about a quarter-mile from the trailhead. The person, who was unresponsive, was carried back to an air-conditioned pickup truck, Pascua said.

The cyclist was driven over to where the ambulances were set up on the trail.

"That's where they worked on the patient, tried to provide lifesaving measures, and ultimately the patient was pronounced at 5:45 p.m.," Pascua said.

Cal Fire's San Diego County division posted Saturday afternoon on Facebook that it was responding to a "remote area rescue in the area of Carrizo Gorge" after it received reports that four people were suffering dehydration. The post said six people were treated and released, in addition to two bystanders who were assessed but needed no aid.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department closed some trails Saturday because of the extreme heat. The department said it was investigating and that the cause and manner of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Pascua said Cal Fire crews reported temperatures reached nearly 110 degrees Saturday. AccuWeather had the high in Jacumba at 106 degrees, while reported the highest temperature in the area Saturday at 103 degrees.

Pascua encouraged people to change their plans for outdoor activities when temperatures reach extremes or to at least pack more water than they believe they will need.

"It’s unfortunate this was a good Samaritan just trying to help out. ... Unfortunately, bad things happen to people out there when it’s this hot," Pascua said. "Know your limitations and try and get help as soon as possible. That way we can get out there and help you."