Rumors run when hiker is rescued from Sabino Canyon

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An annual hike through Sabino Canyon for seniors at Desert Christian High School turned into a trip many will never forget.  One of the girls in the group suffered from heat exhaustion-- which made a long day even longer, and made the rumor mill run wild.

"So it was a little bit stressful but we all just came together," begins Mariah Smith.

For the 56 seniors at Desert Christian High School, the annual hike from Mt. Lemmon down through Sabino Canyon was anything but ordinary.

"There were Sheriffs out there, Park Rangers coming by the truckloads," says Desert Christian Student Mackie Thompson.

About 2:30 wednesday afternoon near 7 Falls Trailhead, classmates say one of the students involved with the hike started suffering from heat exhaustion.

"One of the EMT's, one of our volunteers who walks down with the kids, said we need to get her some help," explains Desert Christian Schools Headmaster John O'Hair.

So the group contacted search and rescue, and sent for a helicopter to airlift her to the hospital.

"And we all just started praying for her, and praying that she'd be safe," says Mariah.

"It was unfortunate what happened to her, you know. We're certainly praying for her right now," says Mackie.

School officials say she's doing just fine and so are the rest of the students who went on the voluntary hike, "One of the initial reports was that 51 hikers had to be rescued. That was not the case."

O'Hair says the rest of the students did just fine and hiked out on their own power.

"One of the radio stations was saying that there was 50 kids that had to be rescued off the mountain and we were like down.  We had hiked 17-miles and we were like, no we hiked 17-miles, don't give them credit for saving us off the mountain," says Mariah.

In the end, the students on the hike look back at their experience with a sense of pride, "We held together as a group. We felt good. Leadership training was involved."

School officials say several people in the group had medical training, and they brought enough water with them for the hike, but they plan to evaluate things and make any necessary changes next year.