Hiker who refused rescue at Bear Canyon speaks out - Tucson News Now

Hiker who refused rescue at Bear Canyon speaks out

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A clip from YouTube video shot by Pima County Sheriff's Department on a huge rescue at Bear Canyon Saturday Jan. 26, 2013 A clip from YouTube video shot by Pima County Sheriff's Department on a huge rescue at Bear Canyon Saturday Jan. 26, 2013
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

One of the dozens of hikers trapped at Bear Canyon this weekend is speaking out about his experience.

Paul Garcia and his family were some of the nearly 50 hikers trapped by dangerous waters. It was the help they refused that's now turned into a controversy of whether or not their kids were put in danger.

Paul Garcia denies that he put his children in danger.

"Nope, not at all," Garcia said. "I went across the water first. It was probably belly high on me. I carried my son across the water."

Garcia, his wife, and their children aged 8 and 10 were among those trapped on Bear Canyon this weekend by raging waters.

Video shot by the Pima County Sheriff's Department shows search and rescue crews bringing the hikers to safety. They were trapped by runoff from Saturday's record rainfall.

Garcia said he refused help by the rescue helicopter because his family wasn't in danger and there was a group behind him that included a hiker who had a sprained ankle and needed to be rescued more.

Garcia said he did consider the cost.

"It was a concern to us, 'Wow who is going to pay for this?'" said Garcia. "Because we didn't know search and rescue is a free charge."

The avid hiker says there's no amount of money he wouldn't pay if he felt his kids really were in danger. Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman Tom Peine says hikers aren't obligated to get help.

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