Lost Arizona hiker found dead; dog who stayed with him rescued, officials say

Searchers on Wednesday found the body of a hiker who had become lost in an Arizona forest, and his dog, who was alive but in serious condition, authorities said.

Donald Hayes, 74, had been lost on Mingus Mountain in Prescott National Forest since Friday. His body found in a rugged area Wednesday afternoon, along with his dog Ranger who stayed with him, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The Yavapai County Search and Rescue K9 Team, which was involved in the days-long search for Hayes, said that the dog was in serious condition but receiving care.

Hayes called his wife Friday and said that he and Ranger were lost. The sheriff’s office forest patrol told Hayes that rescuers were on their way and to stay where he was, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hayes, who told the patrol Friday he was turning off his phone to save battery, chose not wait and tried to find his way out, the sheriff’s office said.

The Mingus Mountain area has elevations of between 7,200 and around 7,800 feet, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Prescott Valley, where Hayes lived, is surrounded by the 1.25 million-acre national forest.

Hayes’ body was found in a rugged area that was difficult to reach, according to the sheriff’s office.

Rescue team members told NBC affiliate KPNX of Phoenix that the dog was dehydrated and appeared exhausted.

Rescuers gave the dog oxygen and fluids and cooled him down before taking him to a vet, the search-and-rescue team said.

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

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