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Couple Rescued in Southern California Desert After Running Out of Water

June 17, 2024




A couple hiking in the desert south of Joshua Tree National Park was rescued on Sunday after running out of water, authorities said. The dramatic rescue, which took place in the Painted Canyon area, was prompted by a 911 call from the male hiker reporting his girlfriend’s severe dehydration and weakness.

According to a statement released Monday by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, the emergency call was received on June 9, a day when temperatures soared to triple digits. In response, a search and rescue helicopter crew was immediately dispatched to locate the distressed hikers.

The Sheriff’s Office posted a video online showing the helicopter hovering over the couple, who were found huddled in a dry creek bed. The video captures the man shielding his girlfriend from the relentless sun and wind with his body. The helicopter crew then hoisted the couple into the aircraft one by one.

Due to the woman’s critical condition, she was swiftly transferred to an aeromedical helicopter and flown to a hospital. The man was taken to a local hospital by ambulance, according to the Sheriff’s Office report to SFGATE.

The scorching deserts of Southern California are known for their extreme temperatures, and on June 9, weather stations near the Painted Canyon reported highs ranging from 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 to 40.6 Celsius), according to the National Weather Service.

In their statement, the Sheriff’s Department emphasized the importance of preparation when hiking in such harsh conditions. “Please remember as the temps increase take more water than you think you will need, have a hiking plan, and tell two people where you are going,” they advised.

This rescue underscores the dangers of desert hiking during peak summer temperatures and the critical need for adequate water supplies and safety planning.

Credit: AP

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