MECCA – Three women who went missing Monday while hiking in the hills around Mecca were found about three hours later and transported to a medical center for treatment of heat exhaustion, authorities said.
The women were reported missing around 10 a.m. in the Painted Canyon area and were found some three hours later, said Fernando Herrera of the Riverside County Fire Department.
One was airlifted to a hospital, and the others were transported by ground ambulance, he said.
The women’s disappearance followed the discovery Sunday of the bodies of two hikers who died on barren hillsides near Carl Lykken Trail in Palm Springs.
One body was found at 9:14 a.m. west of Museum Drive and north of Belardo Road. The other hiker’s remains were located at 11:08 a.m. on a hillside west of Arenas Road and south of Tahquitz Drive, according to the coroner’s office
Autopsies were pending on both men, whose names have not been released.
Daytime temperatures in the desert soared to 110 degrees over the weekend, making outdoor conditions dangerous, authorities said.
In a statement Sunday, Palm Springs police Lt. Dennis Graham noted that even experienced hikers can run into difficulties during excursions over local trails “composed almost entirely of rock and loose shale.”
“They offer virtually no shade and water sources are scarce to nonexistent,” he said. “Because of the excessive heat of recent days, it is advisable to stay off area trails until temperatures decline.”
The National Weather Service warned that Coachella Valley-area temperatures were expected to exceed seasonal averages by 10 degrees, with highs around 115 degrees in places.