Heat and rain can make for hazardous hiking conditions

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A near death hiking incident over the weekend serves as a reminder about the dangers of one of Tucson's most popular recreational activities.


From beautiful cacti to majestic mountain views, Tucson attracts a lot of hikers.

Over the weekend, a teenage girl hiking in Tanque Verde Falls slipped off a rock and plunged about 60 feet into water.

She managed to stay alive without any major injuries.

"Very few people go over the main waterfall and live to tell about it.," said Scott Clemans from the Southern Arizona Rescue Association.

In 2006 Air Force staff sergeant Timothy Hahn wasn't so lucky. Flash flooding swept him to his death at seven falls as he tried to save a woman from the raging waters.

"if you see it raining up there and cloudy you can expect that there just might be some flash flooding later on. So, the best thing to do is go early and pay attention to the weather," said Clemans.

On a hot summer day when there's no chance of rain, bring plenty of water with you.

"When we go in on a rescue we usually have a gallon, gallon and a half at least and you can use that up pretty quickly because of the high temperatures," said Clemans.

If you get stuck, the Southern Arizona Rescue Association says the best thing is to have a working cell phone.

"If you can call 911, the operators there can get your GPS location and give that to the sheriffs department," said Clemans.

Just make sure that phone is fully charged before the hike and try not to head out alone.

Depending on a hiker's location it could take hours before a rescue team arrives.

"Even if you're in a deep canyon where you don't think your cell phone will work, if you're with someone they can take the phone and find somewhere where it does work," said Clemans.

Being fully prepared could save a life when every second counts.

The Southern Arizona Rescue Association also recommend hikers carry a light, especially if heading out later in the day.   If they get stuck, they can use the light to attract rescue teams.