Man, 21, dies from heat while hiking in White Tank Mountains


by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Jason Volentine

Posted on June 2, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 5 at 12:28 PM

Map: White Tank Mountains

View larger map

PHOENIX -- A 21-year-old man went into cardiac arrest and died while hiking in the White Tank Mountains in the West Valley Sunday morning. 

Justin William Rodriguez and two friends were on the Willow Trail when he collapsed at about 11:30 a.m., according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

At this time, it doesn't appear that Rodriguez had a history of medical issues, according to MCSO spokesman Deputy Joaquin Enriquez.

"This is definitely a heat-related death," he said.

The three hikers had started the 10-mile hike at around 6:30 a.m. and were on the last leg when Rodriguez, who was wearing black jeans, said he was not feeling well and his legs "would not work."

His companions gave him water, but he collapsed and lost consciousness. His friends administered CPR until paramedics arrived and took over.

The paramedics said Rodriguez was hot to the touch. They also said he had a spontaneous pulse and agonal respirations. They were not able to revive him.

The other hikers told deputies that they had been hydrating the entire way and said that they had hiked the same trail before.

The triple-digit temperatures affected many hikers across the Valley this weekend. Four hikers were rescued on Saturday. Two rescues were on Piestewa Peak, one was on Pinnacle Peak and the fourth was on Tom's Thumb Trail in Scottsdale.

Many at Piestewa Peak on Sunday realized it wasn't worth the risk and cut their hike short.