10-year-old boy dies in Arizona after four-hour hike in triple-digit temperatures

Hidden Valley Mormom Trail in South Mountain Park Preserve in Phoenix Arizona
Hidden Valley Mormom Trail in South Mountain Park Preserve in Phoenix Arizona, near where the boy collapsed (Image credit: Getty Images / Melissa Kopka)

In a summer when a shocking number of hikers have died from heat-related exertion all around the world, this story is particularly sad, and a stark warning against taking risks during excessive heat warnings.

A 10-year-old boy died after he suffered a "heat-related medical emergency" during a hike in Arizona’s South Mountain Park and Preserve on Tuesday. 

The boy had been with relatives – none of them local – and they’d been on the trails since around 9.30am. Emergency services were called around 2pm, which means they had been out in searing sun for at least four-and-a-half hours. During that time temperatures had soared to 113°F (45°C), which is about 6°F above the average temperature for the area at that time of year.

Firefighters, rescue teams and police officers reached the boy about one mile on the trail, according to Phoenix Fire and Phoenix PD. The boy was airlifted to a waiting ambulance, where he was transported to the hospital in "extremely critical condition”. He never recovered.

Phoenix PD detectives are currently investigating the incident. Our thoughts are with the boy's family and friends.

Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. About 1,220 people die in the US from heat-related illnesses every year, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and almost all of them are preventable. Mostly by not going out and exerting yourself in extreme heat in the first place.

Be sensible. And if you must venture out, take water because dehydration is a killer.