Updated: 50 Searchers And A Helicopter Involved In Search For Missing Hiker In San Gabriel Mountains
[Update, 3:45 p.m.: John King's body was found at around noon on Saturday, according to City News Service. Sheriff's Department officials said King was found near the base of Hermit Falls, close to Chantry Flat. Coroners officials will examine the body to determine an exact cause of death in the coming days.]
A 63-year old man from La Puente has gone missing in the San Gabriel Mountains prompting the second day of a large-scale search and resuce operation involving more 50 people, and a helicopter, according to KTLA.
The man, named John King, is an experienced hiker who went for a hike near Chantry Flat at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning. King's family explained to KCBS that he goes hiking in the mountains nearly every other day, often running loops up to 17 miles long. Coincidentally, a Sheriff's Deputy told Fox 11 that King himself often volunteers in search and rescue operations throughout the area.
King didn't return home on Thursday afternoon, worrying his family. When they visited Chantry Flat to go look for him, they found only his SUV. King was officially reported missing to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department at around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday. Authorities describe King as a 5'10 white man who weights about 220 pounds. King has brown eyes, short gray hair, and a similar color beard.
"We didn't hear from him and normally he's home by about 3 o'clock, but for some reason he was just gone. We tried calling him, nothing," said Scott King, John's son, to KCBS. "We're trying our best to stay positive. We know he's experienced, so hopefully he's out there."
Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue officials describe Saturday's search area as approximately 9 square miles. Search teams began working at around 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, and are expected to continue as long as daylight permits, or until King is found. Though King is an experienced hiker, trails throughout the San Gabriel Mountains can be risky.
"We are concerned that he might have gone off trail, and our searchers today are going to be focused on canyon bottoms where someone might have gotten off of trail and some of these drops are hundreds of feet, and they are sloped," Dep. William Harrington, told KTLA. "If someone did go off trail they could be sitting at the bottom of the slope injured or not and be having difficulty getting out."