1st Marine Division/Facebook(INDEPENDENCE, Calif.) — A search-and-rescue team found the car belonging to a Marine, who did not come back from a scheduled back country ski trip in the central California mountains, according to the Inyo County Sheriff.
First Lieutenant Matthew Kraft had a planned itinerary to take the Kearsarge Pass trail on Feb. 24 and was scheduled to end his trip on Mar. 4 or Mar. 5 near Bridgeport, California, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
Kraft's father didn't hear from his son, who is based in Camp Pendleton, on March 4 and contacted the Mono County Sheriff's Office.
"One of our Marines, 1st Lt. Matthew Kraft, has been reported missing to local law enforcement after missing his return date from a recreational skiing and hiking trip on the Sierra High Route." the division wrote on its Facebook page.
After days of searching the trails, Kraft's vehicle was located by Inyo Search and Rescue on Friday night near Lower Grays Meadows, that's located near Independence, California, according to a press release issued on Saturday by the county's sheriff.
The rescue team deployed a snowcat "to rope-tow search and rescue team members on skis up to the Onion Valley parking area" ahead of another winter storm this this weekend, according to the press release.
The search expanded with the Inyo County and Fresno County Sheriff’s Offices. A multitude of assisting agencies includes the California Highway Patrol, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Madera County Sheriff's Office, the Marines Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Fresno County Sheriff which providing aerial support, and the Air National Guard.
Authorities are also looking for help from the public, asking anyone with information regarding Kraft's case to call Inyo County Sheriff’s Office at (760) 878-0383, option 4; Mono County Sheriff’s Office at (760) 932-7549, option 7; or Fresno County Sheriff’s Office at (559) 600-8400.
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