Creek Fire: Helicopter with 13 evacuees from China Peak lands at Fresno airport, more rescues happening this morning – KFSN-TV

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FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Several people trapped by the devastating Creek Fire were rescued on Tuesday morning. Three different flights landed at the Army National Guard Base.

A helicopter left the base around 3 a.m. and returned with 13 people from China Peak shortly before 4 a.m., officials with the Army National Guard told Action News.

RELATED: Creek Fire grows to 135,523 acres with 0% containment, new evacuations issued for Fresno, Madera counties

Another Black Hawk helicopter with 11 more people landed around 5 a.m., and another group arrived around 6 a.m. It wasn’t immediately clear where they were evacuated from.

Action News spoke with 14-year-old Ethan Thao from Fresno, who was on a fishing trip with his family near Huntington Lake. He said he was rescued from China Peak after being trapped for 14 hours.

“It was kind of hard to breathe, but then I got through it because I stayed in the car most of the time. It went by faster because I was asleep,” Thao said.

Four Fresno Area Express (FAX) buses arrived to transport people to Clovis North High School, Fresno Fire said.

RELATED: Creek Fire: Resources for evacuees affected by blaze

The Army National Guard is performing rescue flight operations throughout the day. It’s not known how many flights it will take to get those people out.

On Monday evening, officials said more than 60 people were trapped at Lake Edison and China Peak, and a rescue operation to retrieve them was unsuccessful.

Authorities told Action News 14 people were trapped on China Peak and at least 50 others were trapped at Lake Edison. Officials say that the people are safe and being cared for.

A Chinook aircraft piloted by a team of military personnel tried to land and rescue the trapped people, but the smoky conditions made it impossible for the team to approach safely.

Fire and EMS units are waiting at the National Guard base at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport to receive and treat the rescued people.

Fresno Fire also said one person had collapsed at Mono Hot Springs due to a medical episode and died. EMS personnel could not respond to the location due to the fire. They say the death was not caused by the fire.

On Monday, the Fresno Fire Department said there may be multiple casualties.

This is the second such rescue being carried out since the Creek Fire broke out on Friday.
RELATED: Creek Fire: 214 people airlifted from Mammoth Pool reservoir in daring rescue

On Saturday and Sunday, 214 people were rescued from the Mammoth Pool Reservoir in Madera County after they were trapped by rapidly spreading flames.

A Black Hawk helicopter and a large Chinook helicopter made several trips through the night to bring the people back to safety.
Six of those people were taken to the burn unit at Community Regional Medical Center. One of them was released and five are in fair condition.

The Creek Fire has spread to more than 130,000 acres, CAL FIRE officials said on Monday. It’s still at 0% containment.

Stay with Action News for this developing story.

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