Search and rescue efforts for a skier missing for almost a week in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California have been suspended, authorities said Thursday.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said there is no realistic possibility that Rory Angelotta has survived the severe winter conditions.
Angelotta’s last known location was the Northstar Ski Resort in the Tahoe region of the Sierra Nevadas on Christmas Day, officials have said.
Since then, that area has recorded more than 104 inches, or 8 1/2 feet, of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
“This was a difficult decision, especially for the volunteers who have worked so hard to bring Rory home,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Unfortunately, it was a decision that had to be made. Our hearts go out to the family.”
The search involved around 220 people from 17 agencies, including helicopters with forward-looking infrared and radar technology, the sheriff’s office said. Recovery efforts are still planned.
Feet of snow closed roads in the Lake Tahoe area, the city of South Lake Tahoe urged only essential travel, and Nevada’s governor issued an emergency declaration allowing officials to order cars to turn around so they wouldn’t become stranded.
The University of California, Berkeley, Central Sierra Snow Lab, which is bout 15 miles west of Northstar, has said that snow this month broke a December record set in 1970.
As of Thursday morning, 212 inches of snow fell in December, it said.