INYO COUNTY, Calif. - A multi-agency search is on for a Marine missing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Officials from Camp Pendleton say 24-year-old 1st Lt. Matthew Kraft, of Connecticut, was reported missing on March 4, when he did not return from a backcountry skiing trip on the Sierra High Route.
Kraft's itinerary started out of the Kearsarge Pass trailhead Feb. 23 and was scheduled to end March 4 near Bridgeport, California. The Mono County Sheriff's Office began a search on March 4th and extended that into a joint operation with the Inyo County Sheriff's Office and Fresno County Sheriff's Office, as well as California Highway Patrol, Cal OES, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Madera County Sheriff's Office and the Marine Corps Mountain Warefare Training Center Aerial support.
Search crews found Kraft's rental vehicle, a gray 2016 Jeep Wrangler, at what officials believe to be the trip's start point in Independence, California.
The Inyo County Sheriff's Office has shared a map of the current search area, which is approximately 400 square miles. During the search, crews noticed several avalanches, including in the area of Onion Valley Road, west of Independence. The searches have been primarily air-based.
Inyo County avalanche experts spent the day Tuesday near Kearsage Pass, to check for avalanche risks before enlisting more crew members in the search for Lieutenant Kraft.
Kraft's hike was supposed to end near the Twin Lakes area by Bridgeport. Officials urge anyone with information to call the Inyo County Sheriff's Office at (760) 878-0383, the Mono County Sheriff's Office at (760) 932-7549 or the Fresno County Sheriff's Office at (559) 600-8400.