British actor Julian Sands is one of two hikers missing in the mountains of southern California amid recent winter storms, officials from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Sands was reported missing by family Friday in the Mount Baldy Bowl area of the San Gabriel Mountains outside Los Angeles. Authorities separately are searching for another hiker who was reported missing Monday.
The 65-year-old Sands is said to be in good health, but the sheriff’s department warned Wednesday that recent snowy, windy and icy weather on Mount Baldy could challenge even more experienced hikers, calling the conditions “adverse and extremely dangerous.”
Mount Baldy has seen over a dozen rescue missions in the past four weeks by the county Sheriff’s Search and Rescue teams. After 14 attempts to rescue people who were lost, hurt and stranded, two died from injuries after falling, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Mount Baldy, the highest point in Los Angeles County, attracts many inexperienced hikers, the department said.
The treacherous conditions have also posed a hurdle to rescuing missing hikers including Sands. Search and Rescue teams on the ground, which are often made up of volunteers, were pulled off the mountain Saturday evening due to the hazardous state of trails and the risk of avalanche.
Ground crews will return once conditions improve, while limited helicopter and drone teams are continuing to search for Sands by air when weather permits, the department said.
Born in England, the missing Sands has been residing in the north Hollywood area after making dozens of appearances in both television and movies since the 1980s.
Highlights include his role as George Emerson -- opposite Helena Bonham-Carter’s Lucy -- in the 1985 Academy Award-winning drama "A Room with a View." Sands also starred in "Warlock," "Leaving Las Vegas" and a 1998 adaptation of “The Phantom of the Opera” as the title character.
Fellow hiker Bob Gregory of Hawthorne, California, was also reported missing by family on Monday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's San Dimas station said they have been searching for Gregory in the Crystal Lake area, also part of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Police are tracing Gregory’s phone as his family fears he fell and hurt himself. Ground teams searched for Gregory on Tuesday but weather conditions once again limited the search to air Wednesday.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department advises prospective hikers to bring tracking devices, tell others their itinerary and hike with a partner. Proper gear, training and preparation are essential, they wrote in a Wednesday public service advisory.
Simply not going is the best option for some though, the department said.
“The recent storms that brought the snow and ice conditions are not favorable for hikers, even those that feel they have a high level of experience,” the department said.