Possible heat-related hiker death in Saguaro National Park near Tucson

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Officials at Saguaro National Park advise hikers to be extremely careful if visiting the park during the hot months. (Source: National Park Service) Officials at Saguaro National Park advise hikers to be extremely careful if visiting the park during the hot months. (Source: National Park Service)
TUCSON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Saguaro National Park officials say a 34-year-old man from Illinois died while hiking near Tucson this weekend.

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 27, Bradley Hughes of Geneva, Illinois was found dead on the Gould Mine Trail within the Tucson Mountain District (west) of Saguaro National Park.

The case of death is unknown, but officials say the victim had an empty hydration bladder and no other water with him when he was found. Heat or dehydration may have been a factor.

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Hughes," said Superintendent Leah McGinnis. "We are all reminded that extra precaution should be taken while recreating in the desert during the summer months."

High temperatures on Saturday were in the mid-90s, though it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach into the 100s during the months of May and June. The combination of very hot and very dry weather can quickly lead to dangerous situations.

Park officials would like to advise everyone to be extremely careful if they choose to hike this time of year.

"Get an early start and plan to be back before 10 a.m.," according to Chief Ranger Ray O'Neil. "Carry more water than you would think would be necessary and be sure to turn back before that water is half gone. Check the weather forecast. If predicted high temperatures are above 110° F / 43°C, consider delaying your hike entirely until the weather cools down."

The desert is beautiful this time of year, but can be unforgiving when things don't go according to plan. The park would also like to remind visitors to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.

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