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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

September 18, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Desperate tourists airlifted out of Los Cabos, including on Alaska planes

Tourists and locals are evacuated on a Mexican air force cargo plane to Mexico City from Los Cabos on Thursday,

Tourists and locals were evacuated  on a Mexican air force cargo plane from Los Cabos  to Mexico City  on Thursday.  (AP photo / Victor R. Caivano)

Tourists are being evacuated from the  hurricane-devastated Mexican resort of  Los Cabos on military and commercial planes, including some Alaska Airlines planes. It’s estimated 8,000 people will be airlifted out Thursday from the airport which is open only for emergency flights.

The flights are first come, first served, for the thousands of people waiting and sweltering at the damaged Los Cabos airport where an emergency generator is providing some  power. Tourists, and some locals,  are desperate to get out after the hurricane on Sunday night damaged hotels, destroyed homes,  and knocked out power and water. There also has been extensive looting of stores.

The U.S. State Department has urged those Americans remaining in Los Cabos to make their way to the airport as soon as they can and,  for safety, to travel to the airport in daylight hours if possible. An estimated 30,000 visitors, many of them Americans,  were in the Los Cabos area when the hurricane struck. The Los Cabos area, at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula,  includes the two resort towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo and a beachfront string of luxury hotels between them.

Six Alaska flights from Cabos to Southern California airports are scheduled Thursday. The first two Alaska relief  flights out of Cabos arrived Wednesday evening in San Diego and L.A.  Planes from Alaska and other airlines flying (without passengers) into Los Cabos are carrying food, water and emergency supplies. The airport remains closed to commercial flights.

Tourists wait for emergency flights out of Los Cabos airport, including on Alaska Airlines planes, other airlines' planes and Mexican military flights. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

Tourists wait for emergency flights out of Los Cabos airport, including on Alaska Airlines planes, other airlines’ planes and Mexican military flights. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

An Alaska plane also flew from the mainland Mexican resort of Mazatlan, where some Cabo tourists, including Alaska Airline  passengers,  had been evacuated on Mexican military planes.  The tourists were flown to L.A.   “Many were in tears after their ordeal in Cabo,” said Alaska Capt. Robert Kelly in an Alaska Airlines report on the Tuesday  flight. “Some people had no belongings at all. There were several rounds of cheering on the plane while on the way to Los Angeles.”

Here’s the word from the U.S. State Department for U.S.  tourists in Los Cabos:

“There is active engagement of all parts of the U.S. government working together to assist in the safe return of U.S. citizens from Mexico in the wake of Hurricane Odile. The Mexican government is continuing military evacuation flights for people affected by the storm, providing transport to other cities within Mexico, including Tijuana, Mexico City, Mazatlan, and Guadalajara.  U.S. and other commercial airlines are also flying back thousands of passengers.

“U.S. government personnel are at the airports to provide assistance to U.S. citizens.  The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens affected by Hurricane Odile in Baja California Sur should proceed to San José del Cabo airport as soon as possible, if able to do so. Travel during daylight hours is recommended.”

Comments | More in Alaska Airlines, Los Cabos hurricane | Topics: emergency flights, hurricane, Los Cabos

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