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Alaska Airlines Schedules More Rescue Flights From Mexico

Alaska Airlines

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines plans to launch five more jets Friday to evacuate American vacationers from Los Cabos, Mexico.

Baja California is still reeling from the direct hit by Hurricane Odile at the beginning of this week. Since then, there have been reports of looting, no water and electricity, and food shortages.

Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Halley Knigge said the heavily-damaged Los Cabos Airport is closed to commercial traffic. But rescue and relief flights have been permitted to land.

Airlifts to get stranded tourists out of there started Wednesday and ramped up Thursday. Knigge greeted the first wave of arrivals in Los Angeles.

"Customers coming out were very, very happy and thankful to be back. There was a lot of cheering, high-fiving,” she said. “They said conditions were pretty poor down in Los Cabos and they were very thankful to be back on the ground (in the U.S).”

Knigge said the southbound flights to Los Cabos are being loaded with water, food and relief supplies. Returning flights are being filled with passengers first come, first served under the direction of Mexican officials.

The U.S. State Department was unable to provide an estimate Thursday for how many Americans are left in the disaster zone who want to get out.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.