A 75-year-old man who went missing while hiking Mount Baldy over the weekend was found alive on Tuesday.
Jin Chung, 75, of North Hollywood, was found susceptible and taken to hospital for treatment, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.
He had suffered a leg injury and weather-related injuries, officials said. Chung was first reported missing around 6 a.m. Sunday.
He had carpooled up the mountain with two other people before the parties parted ways. They had planned to meet again at 2 p.m., but Chung never returned, officials said.
Air and ground crews searched for Chung and at times officials said helicopters had to be grounded due to gusty winds over the weekend. Ground crews also ceased operations at times due to freezing conditions.
The area had already claimed the lives of two people in the past 30 days, while two other hikers remained missing on Tuesday, including British actor Julian Sands, 65, and Robert Gregory, 61, of Hawthorne.
Authorities have warned the public of icy hiking trails and dangerous winter conditions along the Mount Bady hiking trails.
“At Mount Baldy the winds were 50 to 60 miles per hour,” said Alex Tardy of the National Weather Service. “Some of the windiest places in this region, in the foothills of the San Gabriels, were reaching 75”.
While Chung was found safe and sound, two other people are still missing in the area. Sands was reported missing Jan. 13 after driving to Baldy Bowl and Gregory was reported missing after being suspected of hiking near Crystal Lake.
Local hikers have noted that winter conditions this year appear to be more treacherous.
“This year, the conditions are the most frigid I’ve ever seen,” said Doug Hardy, a hiker from Ontario. “It’s much more difficult to go down. If you climb on the ice sheet at 45 degrees, when you turn around and look down, it’s like a man, you can’t mess it up.
Authorities are warning the public to “avoid dangerous mountainous areas such as Mount Baldy at this time”.
“Many hikers, experienced or novice, underestimate the steep terrain, unpredictable weather and high winds that present themselves in our mountain areas,” officials warn. “Exposure to the elements and falls contribute to Mount Baldy’s rising death rate and the risk of avalanches prolongs rescue efforts.”
A strong wind watch will remain in effect Wednesday through Thursday, which authorities say could hamper further searches for Sands and Gregory.
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