HUNTINGTON LAKE – The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is currently involved in the search for four women near Lake Italy, approximately 20 miles northeast of Huntington Lake.
On Tuesday, July 23, shortly after 9 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 cell phone call from one of the hikers who advised that she, her mother, and two other females lost their sense of direction due to thick smoke from the Aspen Creek fire.
The phone call continued to drop but, with the use of the phone’s GPS, dispatch personnel were able to get an approximate location on the John Muir Trail between Lake Italy and Bear Creek. Further investigation led deputies to contact family in Michigan where they obtained the hikers names and cell phone numbers.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the CHP helicopter H40 and, at first light on Wednesday morning, they responded to the area to search for the hikers. Due to thick smoke in the area, H40 was unable to search the area.
Search and Rescue personnel were deployed into the area to search for the hikers. The search area is more than twenty miles from the Aspen Creek fire.
In the second incident, at about 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office received a report of a GPS emergency “spot activation” in the area of Lake Virginia, approximately 10 miles north of Lake Edison in northeastern Fresno County.
The Sheriff’s Office learned that a father and son were hiking in the area when the father started having serious medical issues.
H40 responded and was able to extract the ill hiker. He was transported to a hospital in Mammoth, and his condition is unknown. The son chose to hike out of the area on his own.
The area where the hikers were located is also more than twenty miles from the Aspen Creek fire.