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Mountain Biker Dies


Last updated 9/14/2023 at 11:03am

After assisting in the search for four hikers, a mountain biker died in the Carrizo Gorge area of the Jacumba Mountains on July 15.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office later identified the good samaritan as 24-year-old Kai Torres Bronson of Otay Mesa.

The incident was reported at around 2:40 p.m., detailing that four hikers in the area with dehydration and heat-illness related symptoms. The hikers did not have any food or water, according to Cal Fire.

Cal Fire ground crews and a sheriff’s helicopter reported to the scene. The temperature around the time crews arrived was about 106 degrees.

Due to poor cell reception in the area, the Sheriff’s Department could not immediately find their general location and dispatchers had to call the first phone number back several times in order to pinpoint a location.

It was not until 2:33 p.m. that a general location was determined and Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched. Multiple agencies were asked to help in the effort: Sheriff’s ASTREA (helicopter unit), Cal Fire San Diego and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Upon arrival, four mountain bikers who were on a casual ride for the day, offered their assistance and guided crews toward the hikers’ location. Four hikers and two bikers needed to be evaluated and were treated and released at the scene.

Two of those mountain bikers were at the bottom of the hill when emergency crews arrived, while the other two remained with the hikers. The sheriff’s helicopter was used to transport the hikers from the trail.

After the rescue, the two mountain bikers that remained with the hikers began riding down the trail back to their meeting point, but got separated from each other.

Rescue crews went back to search for the biker, and later found him about a quarter of a mile from the trail, and was unresponsive.

He was carried into an air-conditioned pickup truck, then transported from an ambulance to an air ambulance, where paramedics attempted lifesaving measures on him. He was eventually pronounced dead at 5:45 p.m., said Brent Pascua, Fire Capt. with San Diego County Cal Fire.

“This was a good Samaritan just trying to help out,” he said. “Unfortunately, bad things happen to people out there when it’s this hot.”

In a Facebook post after the incident, Cal Fire stated:

“A huge thank you to the bystanders that were able to lead the firefighters and rescue helicopter in to where the patients were in this very rugged and remote area. Please remember to bring an adequate amount of water and food if you are enjoying our backcountry and try to plan activities earlier in the day when the temperatures are cooler. Also, hike in a group and let friends and family know where you’ll be and what time you expect to finish.”

“You know when it’s this hot, maybe it’s a good idea to plan the hike another day, or at least really early in the morning so it’s not in the heat of the day. And when you do, take lots of water — take more water than you think you’re going to need,” Capt. Pascua said.

“Know your limitations and try and get help as soon as possible, that way we can get out there and help you,” Capt. Pascua added.

Hikers should make sure they hike with a working cell phone. As long as hikers have cell reception and rescue crews can access the area, they can locate hikers, Capt. Pascua added.