Third missing hiker found is found alive

by Mick Rhodes | editor@claremont-courier.com

Jin Chung, a 75-year-old North Hollywood man reported missing at 6 a.m. Sunday, January 22 after a hike at Mt. Baldy, was found safe Tuesday afternoon.

“This afternoon search and rescue members located missing hiker, Jin Chung,” read a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office. “Mr. Chung suffered some weather-related injuries and a leg injury but was able to walk out with the assistance of the crew members. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment.”

Chung was one of three missing area hikers, two of which remained unaccounted for at press time: British actor Julian Sands, 65, who has been missing at Mt. Baldy since January 13, and Hawthorne resident Bob Gregory, 61, missing in the Crystal Lake area since January 16.

“Numerous ground and air search efforts have taken place,” the sheriff’s department said Tuesday. “As of this time, Mr. Sands has not been found and no evidence of his current location has been discovered. The search will continue, weather and ground conditions permitting.”

Over the last five weeks S.B. County Sheriff’s search and rescue teams have responded to more than a dozen emergency calls at Mt. Baldy and the surrounding area for lost, stranded, and injured hikers. Two of those people did not survive. The Courier reported on the most recent death, of Crystal Paula Gonzalez-Landas, on January 10. Gonzalez-Landas died after falling down the more than 8,000-foot in elevation Baldy Bowl.

According to the sheriff’s office, “exposure to the elements and falls contribute to Mt. Baldy’s growing mortality rate and the risk of avalanches prolongs rescue efforts.

“From 2017-2022, search and rescue teams conducted 233 missions on Mt. Baldy, with eight fatalities. Within that time frame, volunteers have searched 27,277 hours on Mt. Baldy, which equates to $775,578 estimated value, determined by the Office of Emergency Services. From 2017-2022, sworn personnel and aviation support totaled 2,548 hours in service and $1.4 million in cost for Mt. Baldy rescue missions.”

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