PHOENIX – Eight people were rescued from Camelback Mountain after several members of their hiking party began to suffer from heat-related illnesses on Thursday afternoon, Phoenix firefighters said.
A women’s church group reportedly began traveling the Echo Canyon Trail around 7 a.m. for a retreat. Fire officials said the group was made up of women from Alabama, Tennessee and California, and they were filming for a documentary called “Bad Girls Gone God,” where they engage in strenuous activities to to get close to God.
“We have started hosting a women’s retreat every year, where we meet,” said Jasmin Hunter. “We praise, we worship, and we do different activities not only to test our physical test, but also spiritual.”
The hikers reportedly told firefighters they hadn’t done their research before starting the hike. Several hikers were led onto the trail and two had to be taken down by helicopter. Three were hospitalized in stable condition.
“I started getting really, really dizzy, and after a while I just said ‘no, I can’t do that,'” Tatiana Robinson said.
“I barely made it. I had one episode in the car where I almost passed out. It was a lot,” Kristen Livingston said.
“Our drone was able to pick itself up quickly, locate different separate groups, let us know if they were stable, and give us a visual assessment,” said Cpt. Evan Gammage with the Phoenix Fire Department.
The band members insist that God and Arizona were on their side.
“God was definitely with us,” Robinson said. “We think if they hadn’t called – I don’t know what would have happened, but we might not have made it.”
The women who went to the hospital are 24, 42 and 50 years old. No firefighters were injured.
Temperatures on June 22 were in the triple digits, and Arizona First responders continue to warn hikers of the dangers of using the trails in hot weather.
Hiking safety tips
- Avoid drinking the night before or drinking coffee in the morning.
- Wear the right gear: shoes, hats, sunglasses
- Bring a fully charged phone and go hiking with someone
- Stay hydrated before, during and after a hike
- Choose a cooler time of day
- If you’re hiking alone, tell someone where you’re going
- Know your limits
- Stay on track
Prevent heat exhaustion/heat stroke
The Arizona Department of Health Services has stated that the following precautions can be taken to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings
- Limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day (noon)
- Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day
- Drink water before, during and after working or exercising outdoors
To take a walk. Do it Right Campaign: https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/hikeright
More thermal resources: http://heataz.gov
Thermal rescue stations: https://www.salvationarmyphoenix.org/extreme-heat-relief
AFTER: Know your limits: Phoenix first responders urge hikers to prepare for heat, avoid overexertion