Emergency crews saved eight hikers Monday. (Malibu Search and Rescue)

A 64-year-old man died when a group of hikers in Malibu ran out of water Monday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Emergency crews found a group of about six people in the Zuma Canyon area who were hiking in 85 degree heat without water, officials said. Six needed medical attention and one was airlifted to a nearby hospital. One man died from heat stroke, despite efforts by Malibu Search and Rescue and other hikers.

An official with the National Parks Service (NPS) said the group had left the official trail and entered an area that the National Parks Service had closed after the Woolsey fire.

“Emergency responders arrived at the scene of the deceased man and attempted to revive him using CPR,” said NPS Public Affairs Officer Ana Cholo. “He was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m. and was airlifted out of the canyon by helicopter.”

The man was found about a mile from the Kanan Backbone Trailhead.

Multiple agencies and two helicopters also responded to calls for help from hikers in three other locations, saving eight hikers in total Monday, according to Malibu Search and Rescue.

Cholo said they were found on four different cliffsides near Newton Canyon and Zuma Edison Road, along an abandoned, rapidly eroding and treacherous road.

“The road is not an official trail and is part of an area that has been closed since November 2018 in order to protect visitors and recovering vegetation,” she said. “Some of the hikers had already hiked for almost eight miles.”

She said the Woolsey Fire damaged 88 percent of National Park Service land and even if trails are open, some of the areas lack shade due to the loss of plants.

Cholo said this is the second heat related death on federal land this summer.

“A month ago, a 72-year-old female hiker succumbed to the heat during a hike in the isolated Circle X area of Malibu,” she said.

According to Cholo, hiking in extreme heat can be dangerous and hikers should be aware of warning signs such as nausea, disorientation, dizziness and hallucinations.

Hiker safety tips:

• Plan ahead! Bring the 10 essentials on every hike, no matter how short. These essentials include extra water (at least 3-5 liters on hot days) and extra food. Hikers should also have a map and compass (or GPS), flashlight or headlamp, sun protection, extra insulation, waterproof matches, an emergency shelter, a multipurpose tool and first aid kit.

• If hiking as part of a group, designate a “sweep,” a hiker who stays at the back of the group as a safety measure. Also, the hike leader should stop at forks and intersections to allow hikers and the sweep to rejoin the group.

• Stay on the trail. Do not wander off trail!

• Dress appropriately by wearing light and loose-fitting clothing. Wear good hiking shoes.

• During the summer, hike in the morning or in the late afternoon when the temperatures are cooling down.

• Know your limits! If carrying extra water is not feasible, reconsider the hike.

SMDP Editor Matthew Hall contributed to this story.


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