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Hiker deaths spark backlash on social media

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jun 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 11:40:29-04
Comments on social media have been pouring in after four people died while hiking in record-breaking heat in Tucson last weekend. Three of them took place in the Catalina Mountains. 
 
Nine On Your Side received a lot of negative remarks on our Facebook page with comments from viewers who blame the hikers. We spoke to one woman whose father died while hiking several years ago.
 
Following a tragedy in the mountains came a flood of backlash on social media. Posts like, "there should be a stupid hiker law" or "stupidity at it's finest."'
 
For Katie Ezzo, those comments hit close to home.
 
"It's easy to get lost in the mountains but that doesn't mean that you're stupid or senseless."
 
Ezzo's father, Joe, died while hiking Sabinio Canyon 14 years ago. She says he was an avid hiker--and far from stupid. 
 
"He had his whole hike planned out. He brought enough water but of course, as hikers know, when you come up here the mountains kind of draw you in and you want to keep going. So he did his planned hike and then he went further than he was supposed to so he just kind of over exerted himself."
 
And it doesn't only happen in triple digit heat.
 
"It was a beautiful day it was 80 degrees in the middle of February."
 
Ezzo's story is similar to a lot of others in Southern Arizona. Thanks to social media, friends and loved ones are forced to read hurtful words in a time of grief.
 
"It's really sad, it's really sad. I don't think people have the right to judge stuff like this because it happens. It doesn't matter if you're experienced or inexperienced. It happens and there's no reason for negative comments."