Missing Hiker's Body Found by Drone

Lefei Huang, 22, died on California's Mount Baldy amid atmospheric river storm
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2024 1:30 AM CST
Updated Feb 13, 2024 5:41 AM CST
Amid Atmospheric River, Hiker Missing on California Mountain
The snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains, with highest peak Mount Baldy at the left, as seen from near downtown Los Angeles, Jan. 12, 2016.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
UPDATE Feb 13, 2024 5:41 AM CST

A 22-year-old hiker who went missing amid extreme winter weather in southern California has been found dead. The body of Lefei Huang of El Monte, last seen Feb. 4, was discovered Friday by a member of the public who was flying a drone, NBC News reports. Medics airlifted to Mount Baldy's upper San Antonio Creek Falls area confirmed the discovery on Sunday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said. Huang had set out to hike Mount Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains just before an atmospheric river storm dumped snow in the mountains and historic levels of rain at lower elevations. Two days into the search for Huang, crews were pulled from Mount Baldy due to avalanche risk.

Feb 8, 2024 1:30 AM CST

A California woman who set out for a hike amid the state's recently intense weather has now been missing for days. Lifei Huang, 22, went for a hike by herself at Mount Baldy in southern California's San Gabriel Mountains on Sunday afternoon and was last heard from at 4pm that day, around two hours after the start of her hike, CNN reports. Search and rescue teams have been looking for her, but have had to deal with severe weather conditions including avalanche risks and heavy snow. Meanwhile, three other hikers were recovered from the mountain early Monday. They'd gotten lost amid the storm Sunday, and survived the frigid night by sheltering between rocks to protect them from 50mph wind gusts, Fox News reports. Rescuers remained in contact with them overnight and were able to get to them by the next day.

Hikers are being urged to avoid the area at this time, ABC 7 reports. "The weather has effectively buried the mountain in snow and it is highly likely hikers will get into trouble," the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department says in a news release. "Resources are stretched to their limits and hikers who get lost may have to wait long periods of time before help is available." (More California stories.)

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