Now Reading
Record heat kills 3, rescuers continue search for missing hiker
local

From the archive: This story is more than 5 years old.

Record heat kills 3, rescuers continue search for missing hiker

  • Authorities are searching for Marcus Turowski, who went missing Sunday on a hike that killed one man and hospitalized another because of the record high temperatures.
    PCSDAuthorities are searching for Marcus Turowski, who went missing Sunday on a hike that killed one man and hospitalized another because of the record high temperatures.
  • Jeff Mayhew, a volunteer with the South Arizona Rescue Association, gets checked out by Rural-Metro firefighters, after he came off the Ventana Canyon Trail on Monday. He was part of a group searching for a man who went missing on Sunday afternoon after attempting to hike the trail in record heat.
    Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.comJeff Mayhew, a volunteer with the South Arizona Rescue Association, gets checked out by Rural-Metro firefighters, after he came off the Ventana Canyon Trail on Monday. He was part of a group searching for a man who went missing on Sunday afternoon after attempting to hike the trail in record heat.
  • Rescue vehicles at the Ventana Canyon trailhead, where one man has died and another remains missing after they attempted to hike the trail during record heat in Tucson on Sunday.
    Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.comRescue vehicles at the Ventana Canyon trailhead, where one man has died and another remains missing after they attempted to hike the trail during record heat in Tucson on Sunday.

Three people died, and one man remains missing, in separate incidents as record-breaking heat in the valley made outdoor activities dangerous in the Tucson area.

One hiker is dead and another remains missing after they attempted to hike the Ventana Canyon Trail on Sunday afternoon, authorities said. 

They and another man, all from Germany, were attending the Optical Society of America conference at the nearby Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, and decided to hike up the trail.

Around 1:45 p.m., authorities responded after another hiker called, telling deputies that there were "some hikers who were possible dehydrated," said a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. 

"Deputies learned three men went hiking up the trail," Deputy Courtney Rodriguez said. "One man was able to make it down, but the other two were not seen or heard from any further."

Deputies found Stefan Guenster, 57, dead approximately four miles from the trailhead, said Rodriguez. The second man remains missing, 33-year-old Marcus Turowski, and search-and-rescue teams searched through Sunday night and into Monday morning. 

"It is unknown if he was able to get off of the trail to safety," she said.

Turowski is described as a white male with a thin build and blonde hair, and was last seen wearing a green shirt and jean shorts, Deputy Ryan Inglett said.

More than two dozen people worked to find the missing man on Sunday afternoon. 

Deputies with rescue training worked along the trail, backed by volunteers from the Southern Arizona Rescue Association, and dog and handler from the U.S. Border Patrol. Helicopters from PCSD and the Arizona Department of Public of Safety circled overhead. 

"It's going to be extremely hot," said Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos, during a Monday press conference at the Ventana Canyon trailhead. As Nanos spoke, reporters' cameras and phones stopped working in the blazing mid-day heat. 

Nanos reiterating warnings issued by his department and Pima County heath officials to avoid outdoor activity.

"Yesterday, we hit a record and it's just intensely hot. We're asking people not only to avoid outdoor activity to the morning, but just to avoid it entirely." 

Dr. Michele Manos, a consultant with the Pima County Health Department, said people can prepare for high temperatures, but "temperatures like this will overwhelm preparations," Manos said.  

In a separate incident, a 18-year old woman died along the Finger Rock Trail on Sunday.

Authorities identified her as Adrienne Rasmussen, and said that she and a 22-year old man became lost and ran out of water. The man, who remains unidentified, was airlifted from the trail and transported to Tucson Medical Center, said Rodriguez. 

The third death occurred later in the afternoon, after a 54-year old woman was found dead on the walking path in the 4900 block of South Outlet Drive, near East Irvington Road and Interstate 10. She went out for a walk along the Loop path around 3 p.m. said Rodriguez. 

Around 2 p.m. Monday, rescue crews took a break from their search for the missing man, but said that they would review their plan and likely start again as the sun began to set. 

Lt. Steve Carpenter, the leader of the PCSD's search and rescue teams, said that deputies would continue to work to find the missing man. 

"We're really hoping to find this man, and we'll keep at it until we find him," said Carpenter.

An excessive heat warning remains in effect for the Tucson area through 8 p.m. Monday. Another warning, covering parts of Pinal County and the western Arizona deserts, will be in effect through Wednesday night.

Sunday, temperatures hit 115 degrees at Tucson International Airport, with other area thermometers reading 116 — falling just short of Tucson's all-time high of 117 degrees recorded on June 26, 1990.. A weather station east of Tucson, near Marsh Station Road, reported hitting 121 degrees Sunday afternoon around 3:20 p.m. A University of Arizona station hit 118 degrees.

Monday, some area weather stations showed highs of 116 degrees.

Two weeks ago, over the June 2-4 weekend, area temperatures peaked at 114 degrees, and sheriff's deputies rescued three hikers with heat-related illness. One man, 72, was rescued by deputies on June 3 and remains in critical condition after he suffered "extreme heat exhaustion" while hiking in upper Tanque Verde Falls. 

Officials have warned that people limit outdoor chores and spend the afternoon and evenings indoors areas with "sufficient cooling" and drink plenty of water.

They also said to never leave a pet, child, or anyone else in a parked car.

Researchers at San Francisco State University conducted a study in 2003 that showed that the temperature inside a vehicle can rise to 114 degrees on a 95 degree day, and will rapidly rise to 140 in under an hour even with the windows open.

— 30 —

Top headlines

Best in Internet Exploder