A woman who disappeared after setting out alone on a hike on Mount Baldy has been found dead, authorities said, ending a weeklong search-and-rescue effort hampered by dangerous weather conditions.
The body of Lifei “Ada” Huang, 22, was recovered Sunday morning, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said. She had vanished just two hours into her solo trek a week earlier as powerful winter storms barreled through Southern California.
Huang, of El Monte, California, had been reported missing shortly before midnight on Feb. 4. Search teams began scouring the area at around 2:30 a.m. but they were unable to find her. The rescue mission continued in “extremely heavy snowfall” last Tuesday, the sheriff’s department said, but the threat of avalanches led to the crews being called off the mountain.
It wasn’t until Saturday that authorities received a tip that a “citizen flying a drone” had potentially spotted Huang’s body in the San Antonio Creek Falls area. Rescue teams were dispatched to the site but were ultimately unable to reach the place where Huang was believed to be owing to the conditions on the mountain, while aviation crews were similarly unable to conduct a search due to high winds.
Medics were finally able to be hoisted down to the area early Sunday, where they found Huang’s body. A cause of death has not yet been released.
“The weather has effectively buried the mountain in snow and it is highly likely hikers will get into trouble,” the sheriff’s department said. “Resources are stretched to their limits and hikers who get lost may have to wait long periods of time before help is available.”
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