One hiker dead and 4 others suffer heat exhaustion in Malibu Hills

Map showing Malibu Hills
Emergency crews were dispatched to assist hikers in trouble on Monday.
(Los Angeles Times)

One hiker died and four others suffered from heat exhaustion when their group ran out of water during a hike in the Malibu Hills on Monday, according to officials from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department.

A call came in around 2 p.m. reporting that two hikers appeared to be suffering from heat exposure. A helicopter was dispatched to Kanan Dume Road and Zuma Edison Road, said Michael Pittman, a supervising fire dispatcher with the L.A. County Fire Department.

Hours later, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department issued a warning on Twitter that there was police activity in the area and to stay away.

Emergency crews found a group of six or seven hikers who were following a path south of the Backbone trailhead. Three people needed medical attention but were able to walk and obtain help aided by members of the Malibu Search and Rescue team. One person was airlifted to a nearby hospital.

One man died from heat stroke, despite efforts by nearby hikers and emergency crews, according to search and rescue workers. None of the hikers has yet been identified.


“Our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the man who perished,” Malibu Search and Rescue posted on its Facebook page.

Temperatures that rose to 85 degrees left several hikers in need of help.

In total, emergency crews saved eight hikers in four locations responding to simultaneous calls for help in the Zuma Canyon area, officials said. The hikers were located in different areas of four cliff-sides.

The rescues spanned over three hours and involved numerous agencies as well as two helicopters, Search and Rescue posted on its Facebook page.

Last month, a hiker was found dead at the Circle X Ranch after she became separated from her group at the former Boy Scout camp in the Santa Monica Mountains.