Missing 75-year-old hiker found alive on Mt. Baldy in California

A 75-year-old man who disappeared last weekend while hiking on Mount Baldy was found alive on Tuesday.

Jin Chung, 75, of North Hollywood, was found responsive and taken to a hospital for treatment, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.

He had suffered a leg injury and some weather injuries, officials said. Chung was first reported missing around 6 a.m. on Sunday.

He had carpooled to the mountain with two other people before the parties parted ways. They planned to meet again at 2 p.m., but Chung never returned, officials said.

Both air and ground personnel searched for Chung, and at times officials said helicopters had to be grounded due to gusty winds over the weekend. Ground crews also sometimes stopped operations due to icy conditions.

The area had already claimed the lives of two people in the past 30 days, while two other hikers were still missing on Tuesday, including British actor Julian Sands, 65, and Robert Gregory, 61, from Hawthorne.

Authorities warned the public about icy hiking trails and dangerous winter conditions along Mt. Bady hiking trails.

“Atop Mount Baldy, the winds were 50-60 miles per hour,” said Alex Tardy of the National Weather Service. “Some of the windiest spots in that area, at the base of the San Gabriels, were as high as 75.”

Although Chung has been found safe, two others are still missing in the area. Sands was reported missing on January 13 after heading to Baldy Bowl and Gregory was reported missing after he was believed to be hiking near Crystal Lake.

Local hikers noted that winter conditions seem more treacherous this year.

“The conditions this year are the icyst I’ve ever seen,” said Doug Hardy, an Ontario hiker. “It is much more difficult to come down. When you go up the 45 degree ice shelf, when you turn around and look down, it’s like a human being, you can’t screw that up.

Authorities are warning the public to “avoid dangerous mountainous areas such as Mt. Baldy at this time.”

“Many hikers, experienced or inexperienced, underestimate the steep terrain, unpredictable weather and high winds that occur in our mountain regions,” officials warn. “Exposure to the elements and falls contribute to Mount Baldy’s growing 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 the continued search for Sands and Gregory.

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