A brush fire burned along the 118 Freeway in Simi Valley on Friday morning after a truck went over the side of the roadway and burst into flames, authorities said.
In a dramatic rescue, a Los Angeles County Fire Department team later hoisted the driver from the crash site to a helicopter overhead before transporting the patient to a hospital.
Firefighters and CHP officers responded about 5:36 a.m. to the Santa Susana Pass (map) after a Chevrolet pickup truck hit another vehicle, went over a guardrail on the westbound side of the 118 and flipped over, falling about 200 feet and catching fire, according to an incident report on a California Highway Patrol website.
Sky5 video showed personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department, as well as Ventura and Los Angeles county fire departments, at the scene, where the freeway's westbound No. 3 and No. 4 lanes were closed.
The location is considered a "mutual-threat zone" that borders the jurisdictions of the three agencies, said Scott Dettorre, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.
The CHP issued a SigAlert for the 118 between Rocky Peak Road and Kuehner Drive, near Rocky Peak.
Fire Department helicopters were making water drops on the blaze as plumes of white smoke blanketed the area. Meanwhile, firefighters were seen climbing down the embankment in formation.
"The good news is, the wind is not pushing this fire," Dettorre said.
About 7:20 a.m., a member of the L.A. County Fire Department's Air Operations Section was lowered into the ravine. The crash victim was secured onto a stretcher, which spun several times as it was hoisted up to the helicopter.
The chopper then flew to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, where medical personnel were waiting on a landing pad. The patient's condition was not immediately known.
Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Rich Macklin described the rescue procedure.
"They key on one static item on the hillside and hover to that, and they're just talking amongst the crew," he said of the helicopter team. "One guy's on the hoist, controlling the hoist. One guy's on the end of the hoist."
"It's not something they do every day but it's something they train for every week," Macklin said.