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A group of eight hikers filming a Christian reality show near Phoenix last week had to call for rescue after running out of water in triple-digit heat, the city’s fire department says.
The hikers, who were filming a show called “Bad Girls Gone God,” were in the area on a women’s retreat when they decided to hike the Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback Mountain, a popular hiking destination in Arizona’s Maricopa County, on June 23. Temperatures that day were above normal even for Arizona’s sweltering summers, with the mercury rising to 108° F in Phoenix. Hiker Kristin Livingston told local CNN affiliate KTVK/KPHO that the group “had no idea going into it that [Echo Canyon] apparently was one of the hardest trails in Phoenix.” While descending the mountain, the group ran out of water; at least one hiker, Tatiana Robinson, told the station she began to feel dizzy.
After the group alerted authorities of their predicament, the Phoenix and Scottsdale Fire Department sent more than 100 personnel to their rescue, using drones to determine the group’s location. Firefighters helped the hikers cool down, then assisted three of the stricken hikers as they walked off the trail. A Phoenix police helicopter carried the other five down. In a message shared on their Facebook page, the Phoenix Fire Department said three of the hikers were transported to the hospital in stable condition, and that all the rescuers made it safely off the mountain.
Speaking to KTVK/KPHO, Phoenix Fire Department Captain Evan Gammage credited the hikers for realizing they were in trouble and calling for help before the situation escalated.
“It is an accredit to our patients today again knowing some of their limitations,” Gammage said. “They knew they were beyond where they would be able to get down safely so they set in the shade. They gave us a call, and we were able to get down safely this afternoon.”
Last July, after at least a dozen firefighters suffered heat illness while rescuing hikers, Phoenix’s local government announced it would begin to close Echo Canyon and several other popular trails on city-managed property when the National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings. Rescue teams assist about 200 people in Phoenix’s parks every year, with roughly half of those incidents occurring on Camelback Mountain.