By Cindy Von Quednow and Susannah Cullinane, CNN
(CNN) — A woman who went missing after hiking on Mount Baldy during extreme weather conditions last weekend has been found dead and her body recovered, rescuers say.
Lefei Huang, 22, was spotted by a person flying a drone in the area around 3:25 p.m. PT Saturday and the sheriff’s department was notified, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials said in a news release.
Deputies and a search and rescue team responded to the upper San Antonio Creek Falls area, but they were not able to hike to where Huang was believed to be “due to the conditions on the mountain,” officials said. Aviation crews were not able to search the area because of high winds.
“Search and rescue team members stayed the night near the location to preserve the scene,” the sheriff’s department said.
Around 7:45 a.m. PT Sunday, a rescue helicopter hoisted medics down to the area and they found Huang dead. Her body and the medics were then airlifted off the mountain, it said.
Officials had previously said that Huang had set off hiking at 2 p.m. Sunday February 4 and was not heard from after 4 p.m. that day.
Recovery efforts began Monday afternoon but were limited by “extremely heavy snowfall” and “avalanche risks,” the sheriff’s department said on Tuesday.
The search took place against a backdrop of extreme weather as an atmospheric river brought heavy rain, snow and life threatening flooding to California at the start of the week.
Mount San Antonio, better known as Mount Baldy, is approximately 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Los Angeles had its wettest day in almost 20 years on February 4, experiencing about a typical month’s worth of rain in a day.
Before the discovery of Huang’s body, at least nine weather related deaths were recorded in the state during the powerful storm.
Mount Baldy has been the site of other hikes and drives gone wrong. A woman spent four nights trapped in her car after toppling to the bottom of a California canyon. British actor Julian Sands was discovered dead on the mountain in June 2023 after he went missing on a hike earlier in the year.
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