A 3-year-old girl was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition Tuesday after being bitten by a snake in Chino Hills, officials said.
Firefighter-paramedics responded shortly before 9:30 a.m. to the intersection of Soquel Canyon Road and Pipeline Avenue, where the girl had suffered a snakebite while walking on a nearby trail, according to Battalion Chief Rich Higgins of the Chino Valley Fire District.
The bite was on the child's left knee, Higgins said. Unconfirmed initial reports indicated the snake was a rattlesnake, he added.
News video showed the girl lying on a gurney as firefighters and paramedics placed her in an ambulance. She was then driven to a nearby location and transferred to a rescue helicopter, which whisked her to Loma Linda University Medical Center in stable condition, according to the fire department.
Briana Pastorino, a spokeswoman for the the hospital, later described the victim's condition as critical but stable.
"She's responsive," Pastorino said, "and when I left the patient's room she was watching cartoons."
Fire officials reminded the public that the likelihood of encountering a rattlesnake increases amid warmer weather conditions.
"We want you to be mindful of where you're walking," Higgins said, "and when you are walking out on the trails, to use the proper attire so you can protect yourself."