Alaska teen dies after becoming dehydrated while hiking

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PHOENIX -- An Alaska teen died after he and his family ran out of water while hiking in Phoenix's South Mountain Preserve Sunday.

Hiking for 4 hours

Alaska teen critical after becoming dehydrated while hiking S. Mountain - An Alaska teen is in critical condition after he and his family ran out of water while hiking in Phoenix's South Mountain Preserve Sunday.

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The family knew they were in trouble when the 14-year-old became disoriented and wandered off the trail before passing out. The family had been hiking for more than four hours, according to Capt. Alex Rangel of the Phoenix Fire Department.

"He slept whenever we started resting. He'd go in and out of consicousness," said Bobby Stewart, the teen's cousin. "He talked gibberish. He was moaning a lot."

They family apparently tried to beat the heat by getting an early start, but the extreme temperatures were still too much for the teenager.

"We just tried to cool him down, keep him out of the sun. We wasted all our water trying to cool him down, tried to wet rags and everything. He didn't want to move."

Family members called for help. Firefighter found the teen about 30 minutes later. He was severely dehydrated and in respiratory arrest, the aftermath of heat stroke.The teen was in extremely critical condition when he was rushed to Maricopa County Medical Center.

Hospital spokesman Michael Murphy said the teen was pronounced dead on Sunday.

Most of the fammily stayed behind on South Mountain, many of them receiving treatment for dehydration, including IV fluids and ice packs to help them cool down.

According to the National Weather Services, temperatures in the area were running between 105 and 110 degrees at the time of the family's hike.

"I wouldn't say not to go [hiking], but you have to take different measures of safety during this time of year in Phoenix," Rangel said. "Heat stroke is a life-threatening event. You're body will actually shut down."

Firefighters say there's an easy way to know if you're becoming dehydrated. If your mouth starts to feel dry, you need to get get some fluids, including electrolytes, into your body. Experts say at that point, you should probably stop what you're doing and get medical attention.