Search-and-rescue groups from 5 counties scoured Mt. Baldy on Thursday looking out for a hiker missing since Sunday.

Sreenivas “Sree” Mokkapati, a 52-year-old Irvine resident, went missing after getting separated from his group, and search crews have set out on foot and by helicopter every day to attempt to discover him.

A number of occasions, crews trying for Mokkapati had been diverted to rescue different hikers within the space, prompting Angeles Nationwide Forest supervisor Jerome Perez to subject a short lived emergency closure for the paths within the Mt. Baldy space efficient till Dec. 31, or till Mokkapti is discovered.

The closure impacts solely U.S. Forest Service lands, not county roads or non-public land.

When the closure was introduced, the telephone began ringing at Mt. Baldy Lodge, which has lengthy served as an unofficial info middle for the world, mentioned Charlie Ellingson, the lodge basic supervisor.

“Now we have quite a lot of delight within the truth we’re open day-after-day,” Ellingson mentioned. Callers “had been assuming as a result of the information was saying all of Mt. Baldy was shut down that we had been going to be closed, and the ski space was going to closed.”

The Mt. Baldy Ski Space has a allow to function on Angeles Nationwide Forest land, that means it could possibly stay open underneath the emergency closure order.

Ellingson mentioned there’s now not snow on the bottom at the lodge, which sits at 4,200 toes elevation, and the roads are clear and dry, that means guests have a straightforward drive as much as the Mt. Baldy Resort’s restaurant or to the ski space.

Actions affected underneath the emergency closure embody dispersed recreation, recreation at forest service recreation websites, mountaineering, cross nation snowboarding or different recreation trails throughout the closure space.

Authorities hope the closure will imply no additional distractions for search crews.

After household and mates of Mokkapati made pleas Wednesday night for extra licensed search-and-rescue crews to volunteer, the variety of volunteers responding to assist doubled, KCAL-TV Channel 9 reported.

Justin Williams, considered one of Mokkapati’s Sunday mountaineering companions, instructed KNBC-TV Channel Four that he recommended to Mokkapati that they flip again about 4 miles into the hike when situations turned too difficult and harmful.

The final time he noticed Mokkapati, the hiker was about 20 toes forward of Williams and saved strolling.

“I maintain reliving that second in my thoughts,” Williams mentioned.