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SBSD - Fontana Sheriff's Department
Tuesday January 24th, 2023 :: 06:52 p.m. PST


One Hiker Located and One Hiker Still Missing on Mt Baldy; Sheriff Dicus Focusing on Long Term Safe Guards

DATE: January 24, 2023

INCIDENT: Search for Lost Hikers on Mt. Baldy 

LOCATION: Mount Baldy

MISSING PERSON(S): Jin Chung, 75-year-old resident of Los Angeles *Located*
Julian Sands, 65-year-old resident of North Hollywood

SUMMARY: This afternoon search and rescue members located missing hiker, Jin Chung. 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. No further information is currently available.

The Sheriff’s Department is closing in on the second full week of the search for missing hiker, Julian Sands. Numerous ground and air search efforts have taken place. 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.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Search and Rescue (SAR) teams are comprised of highly trained citizen volunteers, who take on personal risk to help rescue lost and injured hikers. Many hikers, experienced or novice, underestimate the steep terrain, unpredictable weather, and high winds that present themselves in our mountain areas. When combined, these circumstances and conditions place the hiker, SAR volunteers, and Sheriff’s personnel at risk during these dangerous search and rescue missions. Regardless of precautions taken by hikers, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department highly recommends hikers avoid hazardous mountainous areas, such as Mt. Baldy, at this time. 

 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.
Although sworn personnel and civilian SAR volunteers search tirelessly, the area of Mt. Baldy lies within the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service (USFS). The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is committed to assisting with these search missions due to deficits in USFS staffing, resources, and funding. The closure of national parks and forestry is common in similar California terrains, due to extreme weather conditions. Following the 2019, in-the-line-of-duty death of SAR member Tim Staples, former Sheriff John McMahon met with representatives from congress in Washington D.C. and collaborative departments to implement temporary closures of remote and dangerous areas during severe weather conditions. Sheriff Dicus supports closure of trails, as necessary due to extreme weather conditions. However, the Sheriff’s current focus is on working with legislators to secure additional funding for the USFS, to implement a permit process for hikers visiting our local mountains and rangers on the trails, to educate, ensure hikers have the proper equipment and training, and enforce the permits.  

Sheriff Dicus is committed to public safety and will continue working with our counterparts at USFS and Federal Legislators to find solutions for managing our vast wilderness. Our department continues to urge the public to use extreme caution and avoid unnecessary hiking during dangerous winter weather.  

Refer: Sheriff’s Public Affairs

Phone No. (909) 387-3700

SHANNON D. DICUS, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

SBSD - Fontana Sheriff's Department
17780 Arrow Blvd
Fontana, CA 92335

Emergency: 9-1-1

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