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Distressed hiker succumbs to heat, dies on Watson Circle Trail on Saturday
Authorities urge caution, being prepared in summer heat

Efforts by rescue crews to save a hiker in distress were unsuccessful Saturday on the Watson Circle Trail in Prescott.

At about 4 p.m. Saturday, June 5, the Prescott Regional Communication Center received a 911 call regarding a person in distress on the Watson Circle Trail just north of the Watson Lake dam.

The patient was a 69-year-old man, who was apparently hiking alone and asked a passerby for assistance, said Jeff Jones, firefighter/paramedic with Prescott Fire Department. Both people went a little farther down the trail when the patient sat down in the shade and became unconscious.

Within a short period of time, no pulse was detected and the passerby initiated CPR with the patient, Jones reported Saturday evening.

Two Prescott engine crews, including Prescott‘s technical rescue station, made contact with the patient in about 20 minutes and followed standard resuscitation procedures that ultimately proved unsuccessful, according to a news release.

Both engine companies, along with YCSO’s backcountry team and Prescott Police Department, worked to extricate the patient out of the Watson Lake trail system. The last units to clear the incident were released about 3.5 hours after the initial 911 call.

The patient appeared prepared for the hike with plenty of water but the afternoon high Saturday reached 90 degrees, Jones related. The next several days have forecasted temperatures in the mid-80s and it is very important, when hiking, to expect the unexpected.

Bring more water than you think you would need, a charged cell phone, clothes appropriate for the situation and snacks, if needed, Jones added. If you do find yourself out of water or needing assistance, calling 911 is your best bet.

"It is also vitally important that once we make a determination of your exact location, you stay put in that area so the Fire Department personnel can make it easier contact with you," he said.

Further details were not immediately available.

Information provided by Prescott Fire Department.

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