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One Hiker Dead, Others Rescued; Sheriff's Department Warns of Extreme Heat Dangers

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department warns hikers and campers to take precautions after a death in Cedar Creek Falls.

The Sheriff's Department is reminding the public to take a few precautions during this excessive heat warning after a hiker died and others had to be rescued from Cedar Creek Falls recently.

On July 9 at 5:30 p.m., a 19‐year‐old woman was found unconscious with possible signs of heat stroke. She was transported via Mercy Air to Palomar Hospital where death was pronounced shortly upon arrival after. The San Diego County Medical Examiner identified the woman as Lynn Thu Tran from Escondido.

Tran was hiking in Cedar Creek Falls when she felt ill and later became unresponsive, according to the Medical Examiner's Office. Her death was caused by hyperthermia due to environmental exposure.

On July 10, Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies (ASTREA) responded to a call of two distressed hikers with a dog at 2:30 p.m. The couple only needed water and was able to walk back on their own, but their dog needed rescue, according to a press release from the Sheriff's Department.

While transporting the dog, ASTREA was flagged down by another group of hikers. The rescue crew found a 79‐year‐old man sitting against a rock complaining of weakness and dizziness. He was hoisted to an ambulance at a nearby CALFIRE station, according to the Sheriff's Department. The man and the dog will recover.

Since January, ASTREA has performed four rescues at Cedar Creek Falls.

An excessive heat warning for San Diego County's desert areas remained in effect for a second day today, when highs are forecast to climb well above 100 degrees. The National Weather Service says "conditions like heat stroke or heat exhaustion are possible, especially if engaging in strenuous outdoor activities. This weather could be deadly for unprepared campers or hikers.''

The Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit is reminding people to move any exercise indoors or schedule any outdoor activity for early morning or evening. It's also important to remember your pets and ensure they are not over exposed to heat and have plenty of water.

Other safety tips include:

  • Buddy up: Walk or exercise with a partner. It's fun and it's safer. If something happens along
    the way, you'll have someone at your side to help.
  • Phone home: Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Your cell phone could provide a necessary connection to emergency assistance.
  • Drink up: stay hydrated before, during and after exercise
  • Dress for the heat: wear lightweight, light‐colored and breathable clothing. Bring a hat and sunglasses. Wear sunscreen.
  • Take regular breaks: find some shade or a cool place to stop.
  • Head inside: if the heat seems overwhelming, don't sweat it.
Anon July 11, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Its a tragedy this young women died. That said, why are people disregarding any or all warnings? Cedar Creek Falls is a fun place to explore for EXPERIENCED hikers. A dog has no business being on that hike, especially in this heat. BRING LOTS OF WATER AND STAY HYDRATED!!! Are people not reading the signs, the publicity surrounding the falls, and using common sense? I mean, this has been an issue for many years. Why would you not bring enough water? Why would you bring a dog? Why would an elderly person be on that hike? I don't get it. How many people have died on these trails/falls now? Use common sense people! Enough is enough!
Barbara July 11, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I hike in that area (no not Cedar Falls) 2-3 times a week. On each and every occasion I have seen car loads of 'hikers' pull up to the gate, read the sign at the trailhead on Thornbush, park their cars on one of the side streets and proceed past the gate to the trail entrance. I've cautioned these so called hikers that the area is closed and they are subject to fines if found in the area; often the response is "Really? I didn't think that ment us ". Who did they think the sign was directed to? Having the Sheriff's department posted there to deal with these 'hikers' is taxing on our already budget strapped county. There is a park ranger posted at the Gower Mountain Open Space Perserve. This trail is mainly used by horseback riders and a handful of hikers. There is a space available for a ranger at the Cedar Creek Trailhead, why can't that ranger be posted there where there seems to be more activity? Why can't he spilt his time between both preserves? They are only 4 or so miles apart. Any ideas Ramona Patch?
Donald Davis July 12, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Re: ranger. Unfortunately, two different agencies. One federal, the other is county (Mt. Gower). But a good point.
Christine M Griffin July 12, 2012 at 02:44 PM
This is really sad, especially if they are entering from Thornbush which is closed. I rode it once on my horse when the temp was in the 70's and it was so hot on the hillside in the direct sun with no breeze it was awful. We saw SO many people in flip flops with no water and dogs. What a jurisdictional mess too!
amber July 13, 2012 at 05:15 AM
If the goverment left the place alone to begin with these issues wouldn't be here. Yes people died prior but not so any. The advertise it every were people that don't belong there didn't know about it. Plus the trail was hard that kept people away now you can take a stroller. Really how stupid can people be! Let's spend millions then webcast it just so we can close it and fine people. They created the issue!
Anon July 13, 2012 at 06:32 AM
I, respectfully, disagree. You can place blame on the government if you want but that seems a little bit misguided. Is the government to blame for an individual's decision to be irresponsible? Thats pretty much what you are saying. Advertising is NOT the problem. The improvements to the trails were done for the SAFETY of the public. It was NOT so people could bring strollers and dogs. The fact that people even bring those things shows an utter lack of regard to the danger they are putting themselves in. Not to mention the taxpayers money they are spending when needing to be rescued . Its easy to blame the government and 'advertising', especially when if its a way to escape responsibility for an individual's actions. Bottom line: People need to be more responsible and actually take the warnings seriously!
Maggie July 13, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Unfortunately, we live in a world full of irresponsible people who continually put themselves, not to mention others, in awkward or even dangerous situations everyday. People do dumb stuff...that's why we have rescue efforts available. The real issue at hand seems, are taxpayers willing to pay for measures that keep the public safe, such as Rangers, etc, or opt for the more costly rescue efforts? In fact, since city government is unlikely to use more effective means in protecting the public from themselves, why don't taxpayers, especially those living in the vicinity, consider measures of their own? I respectfully agree the government is not to blame for an individual's irresponsibility, any more than you or I are to blame. More importantly, knowing city government is more reactive than preventive, should promote taxpayers into action. Would love to hear ideas....

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