Hampered by High Winds, Crews Conduct Flyover Search for Missing Hikers in Mt. Baldy

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Editor’s note: The pair was found alive Wednesday night, officials said. Read KTLA’s updated coverage here.

Curtailed by up to 40 mph wind gusts on Wednesday, crews plan to stay in the air as they continue searching for two hikers who went missing over the weekend at Mt. Baldy.

“The winds gusts are too strong for the helicopters to insert the search teams, but will be conducting fly over search efforts throughout the day,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department tweeted.

Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace appear in images released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in April 10, 2019.

Five search teams comprised of three members each were deployed Wednesday to search for Eric Desplinter, 33, of Chino Hills, and Gabrielle Wallace, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga, according to a sheriff’s news release.

Rescuers from L.A., Orange and San Diego counties as well as two K-9 teams are assisting San Bernardino county crew members. They’re focusing on Cucamonga Peak, Kelly Camp and Cucamonga Canyon, where two teams will be staying overnight.

Desplinter and Wallace were last seen around 10 a.m. Saturday when they left the Ice House Canyon trail and headed toward the Cucamonga Peak, according to authorities.

Their friends expected them to return by 7 p.m. When the pair didn’t return for another hour, their friends called for help.

Deputies responded to the scene and began their search where the hikers’ vehicle was parked, the Sheriff’s Department said.

A team consisting of some 20 rescuers have since found a beanie, a trekking pole and instructions to use crampons, but officials said it’s unclear whether or not they belong to the missing hikers. Multiple calls to Desplinter and Wallace were unanswered, officials said.

“We’ve had helicopters going up and down the mountain…” Deputy Rene Garcia said on Monday.

Desplinter is an experienced hiker, and both he and Wallace have previously hiked different areas of Mt. Baldy, officials said.

They believe the two had brought a small amount of food and water with them.

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