Authorities say there is “no hard deadline” for calling off the search for Julian Sands, one week after the British actor was first reported missing in the southern Californian mountains.
The A Room with a View star has been missing in the Mount Baldy area since 13 January, when he was thought to have been embarked on the popular Baldy Bowl Trail, which climbs 3,900 feet over 4.5 miles to the highest summit in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Search and rescue crews looking for Sands were initially forced to suspend the search over the weekend because of an avalanche threat, with sleet, snow and fog continuing to hinder the search.
However, on Thursday (19 January), the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s department said the incident was still being classified as a search and rescue operation, despite visibility at the area remaining poor as of that evening.
“We will schedule another ground search when the weather improves, and it is safe for our ground crews,” a spokesperson from the department told the PA news agency.
The spokesperson added that there was “no hard deadline” for abandoning search efforts and “no date set”.
Earlier on Thursday, Sands’ family towed his car from a car park where it was discovered during the search.
Mount Baldy residents noted the “extreme” conditions but said they would not “rule anything out” in the mission to find Sands.
“Conditions can be extreme and even as a resident we don’t hike this time of year… it’s sketchy, it can be very dangerous,” Stephanie Coyne told PA on Mount Baldy. “In prior years other people have gone missing and [people] get injured every year.”
Coyne, who works at the Mount Baldy ski resort, said the adverse weather conditions were “typical” for the time of year. “People have been found, it can happen. I wouldn’t rule anything out – the whole situation is just unfortunate,” she said.
Jaqueline Miller-Weaver, another resident, told PA: “It’s really rough… conditions are really bad. It’s really icy in some areas, even crampons wouldn’t help you.”
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department previously urged hikers to “think twice and heed warnings” following treacherous weather in the region, saying its search and rescue teams had responded to 14 calls on Mount Baldy and in the surrounding area over the last four weeks.
Additional reporting by Press Association.