4 Mountain hikers rescued Saturday

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix and Scottsdale Fire Departments conducted three mountain rescues Saturday morning and a fourth in the afternoon. Two rescues were on Piestewa Peak, one was on Pinnacle Peak, and the last was on Tom's Thumb Trail.

At Piestewa Peak, two incidents occurred within an hour of each other.

A 66-year-old man became fatigued on the trail at about 6:45 a.m. He had a pre-existing medical problem that made his condition worse. Crews treated him on the mountain and brought him down by big-wheel, then transported him to the emergency room.

Half an hour later, a 45-year-old woman suffered a fractured ankle near the top of the mountain in steep terrain. She was hoisted down by a medical helicopter without issue.

"These incidents were very labor intensive for fire crews," said Jonathan Jacobs, a spokesman for the Phoenix Fire Department. "Having an airship resource is a true benefit."

At approximately 9:40 a.m., Scottsdale fire crews responded to a 56-year-old man who passed out at Pinnacle Peak while hiking with his wife and fell into a cactus. The man was conscious and talking when paramedics arrived. He was evacuated off the mountain by big-wheel and transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

Shortly before, 3 p.m., Scottsdale paramedics rescued a fourth person, a 36-year-old man who had been hiking around the Tom's Thumb and Gateway Pass trails. He was out for about five hours and had become severely dehydrated.

Paramedics said the man had water with him, but not enough for a five-hour hike. Rescue crews air-lifted him to a waiting ambulance, but the man did not want to go to the hospital and was released.

The Scottsdale Fire Department reminds hikers to be safe when venturing on the mountains this summer.

"Hike with a buddy, and bring plenty of water and a cell phone," said Danny Ables, a spokesman for the Scottsdale Fire Department. "If you are hiking alone, tell someone where you will be hiking and at what time you are to be expected back."