SAN DIEGO — A search and rescue effort for an elderly man on a trail in Rancho Bernardo Wednesday ended as a recovery effort. San Diego Fire officials say the man in his 80s appears to have died from heat-related issues.
“It’s sad for us to see anybody perish because of something that was preventable,” said Battalion Chief Michael Howell with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Howell said the temperature was in the 90s and humidity was at about 35% during the search, which is hard for people to acclimate to.
Police told FOX 5 the man went out on a routine hike around 10:30 a.m. When he didn’t return after three hours, his wife reported him missing. The man was found around 2:30 p.m. about one mile into his hike, off the trail in some nearby brush.
“Disoriented and stress would point to, especially someone who does that every day on the same trail, then we have a medical emergency and they’re not where they normally are,” Howell said.
Casa de las Campanas, a nearby continuing care retirement community, confirmed the man lived there. Though different levels of care are offered, he was an independent resident and required no monitoring.
Casa’s Executive Director Kim Dominy also said in a statement to FOX 5, “Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with the resident’s family, and we will do all we can to offer support to them at this sad time.”
Experienced or not, fire officials are urging people to take caution exercising in the heat. They say to hydrate, stick to early morning or late evening, have a working cell phone and partner with you if possible.