A 75-year-old man who had disappeared while hiking on Mount Baldy over the weekend has been found alive on Tuesday.
Jin Chung, 75, from North Hollywood, was found responsive and transported to a hospital for treatment, confirmed the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
He had a leg injury and some weather-related wounds, officials said. Chung was first reported missing around 6 am on Sunday.
He had carpooled to the mountain with two other people before the parties separated. They planned to meet back up at 2 pm, but Chung never returned, officials said.
Both 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 icy conditions.
The area had already claimed the lives of two people in the last 30 days, while two other hikers remain missing on Tuesday, including British actor Julian Sands, 65, and Robert Gregory, 61, from Hawthorne.
Authorities warned the public of icy hiking trails and dangerous wintry conditions along Mt. Bady hiking trails.
“Up in Mount Baldy, the winds were 50-60 miles per hour,” said Alex Tardy from the National Weather Service. “Some of the windiest spots in that area, on the foothills of the San Gabriels, were as high as 75.”
While Chung has been found safely, two others still remain missing in the area. Sands was reported missing on Jan. 13 after heading to Baldy Bowl and Gregory was reported missing after he was believed to be hiking near Crystal Lake.
Local hikers noted the winter conditions this year appear to be more treacherous.
“The conditions this year are the iciest I’ve ever seen,” said Doug Hardy, a hiker from Ontario. “It’s way harder coming down. If you’re going up the 45-degree sheet of ice, when you turn around and look down it’s like man, you cannot screw that up.”
Authorities are warning the public to “avoid hazardous mountainous areas such as Mt. 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 contributes to Mt. Baldy’s growing mortality rate and the risk of avalanches prolongs rescue efforts.”
A high wind watch will remain in effect from Wednesday to Thursday, which authorities say could hinder the continued search for Sands and Gregory.
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