LOS ANGELES (AFP) – At least four people, including a German man, have died from the blistering heat that has gripped the western United States and sparked wildfires and evacuations across the region, authorities said Monday.
Three hikers and a mountain biker succumbed to the heat wave in Arizona on Sunday, where record-breaking temperatures were reported in some areas.
Larry Subervi, spokesman for the Phoenix fire department, said one of the victims was an experienced 28-year-old female mountain biker who had embarked on a two-and-a-half-hour ride in the Phoenix area with enough water but got overwhelmed by the heat.
Three other people reportedly died in the Tucson area, including a 57-year-old German national – identified as Stefan Guenster – who was hiking with two other fellow Germans on the Ventana Trail early Sunday.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department, located in Tucson, said one of the men was able to make it down the trail to get help. Rescuers found Guenster dead near the trail and the third man, identified as 33-year-old Marcus Turowski, is still missing. The other victim was identified as a 54-year-old woman who went for a walk along a path known as The Loop and was found dead after her husband reported her missing.
“We have a heat wave every year, but we are close to our all-time record in 1990 of 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 Celsius),” Subervi told Agence France-Presse. He said temperatures on Sunday had soared to 120 degrees and the crushing heat continued on Monday, setting records in many areas of Arizona and southern California. Temperatures were expected to ease from Tuesday.