Heartbreaking news from San Diego County, where a 24-year old mountain biker died in extreme heat, shortly after helping to rescue a group of stranded hikers.
According to multiple sources, the victim was with a group of mountain bikers who encountered the hikers in the Carrizo Gorge area of the Jacumba Mountains, in the desert east of San Diego, around 2:45 pm on Saturday.
Two of the bikers rode down to the trailhead to guide rescue workers, while the victim and another rider remained with the hikers, who had run out of food and water in temperatures up to 110° Fahrenheit.
After Cal Fire crews arrived to rescue the hikers, the two remaining mountain bikers rode back down the trail to meet their companions.
However, this is where the stories diverge slightly.
According to one report, the two mountain bikers became separated, and when only one reached the trailhead, Cal fire personnel went back up the trail about a quarter mile, where they found the victim unresponsive.
According to another, the victim complained about feeling tired, and stayed behind while his friend rode to get water for him. Then as they rode back together, he collapsed several times before becoming unresponsive.
Cal Fire personnel carried him to an air-conditioned pickup truck, then transferred him to an air ambulance where paramedics attempted to revive hime, before he was pronounced dead at 5:45 pm.
The victim has not been publicly identified, and no cause of death has been given.
However, the tragedy would be compounded if one of his final acts was giving water to the stranded hikers, then not having enough to get himself to safety.
This is at least the 24th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third that I’m aware of in San Diego County.
Update: The victim has been identified as 24-year old Kai Torres Bronson. The story says a crowdfunding campaign Torres Bronson has raised over $12,000, but bizarrely doesn’t include a link to it.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kai Torres Bronson and all his loved ones.