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.
Last night, shortly after 9:00pm, 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 phones GPS, dispatch personnel were able to get an approximate location on the John Muir Trail between Lake Italy and Bear Creek. Further investigation led to 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 this morning, they responded to the area to search for the hikers. Due to thick smoke in the area, H40v was unable to search the area.
SAR personnel are currently being 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 10:00am, 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, where 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 reek fire.
Update (7/25/13 @ 2:08 p.m.)
The search for four women in the Sierra Mountains near Lake Italy has been suspended.
Last night, Search and Rescue mountaineers made contact with hikers who had been in contact with the four females on the John Muir Trail near Silver Pass. The hikers reported the females were all in good condition, and had resumed hiking north to their destination in Tuolumne County.
The females advised the hikers of their call to the Sheriff’s Office when they became disoriented due to smoke from the Aspen Fire.
All Sheriff’s SAR personnel have been removed from the search area, and family members of the females have been advised.
Deputy Chris Curtice
Public Information Officer