Hiker missing for days on California mountain found dead

A 22-year-old woman reported missing after going for a hike in California’s San Gabriel Mountains amid last week’s winter storm has been found dead, officials said.

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Authorities launched a search for Lifei “Ada” Huang after she set out around 2 p.m. on Feb. 4 for a hike alone on Mount Baldy, according to the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Office and KABC. Search crews were hampered by “extremely heavy snowfall” brought by an atmospheric river storm that swept through the region.

Nearly a week after her disappearance, the U.S. Forest Service contacted deputies after a person flying a drone reported that they might have spotted Huang. Weather conditions kept crews from immediately going to the area, and high winds kept officials from searching by air, the sheriff’s office said.

Around 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, one week after Huang was last seen, medics were hoisted down to the area where the drone operator reported seeing her. She was found dead in the upper area of San Antonio Creek Falls, officials said.

Her cause of death was not immediately released.

Huang posted several videos on social media showing her hike before she disappeared, KTLA reported. Her friend, Cherry Li, described her to the news station as an adventurous hiker and said that she told a group of friends about her planned hike.

“We didn’t go on the trail but we tried,” Li told KTLA in an emotional interview after Huang’s disappearance. “We couldn’t do anything because we needed professional help.”

Deputies urged people to forgo mountain activities amid inclement weather, saying that the recent storm “effectively buried the mountain in snow and it is highly likely hikers will get into trouble.”

“Resources are stretched to their limits and hikers who get lost may have to wait long periods of time before help in available,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Authorities thanked volunteers and deputies who participated in the search. They also thanked the person who notified the U.S. Forest Service about finding Huang.

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