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Mt. Baldy Search & Rescue crew member dies during today’s search

The deceased man was identified as Timothy Staples, 32, a 9-year-old veteran of SAR

MT. BALDY, Calif. ( — A Search & Rescue member (SAR) assigned the Mt. Baldy operation died during today’s rescue for a hiker missing since December 8th.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department tweeted about the tragic incident at about 5:00 pm on Saturday.

“During today’s search, an SBSD-Search and Rescue team member became separated from his partner. An air search located the team member unresponsive on ice and snow. A medic was lowered to the SAR member and discovered him deceased. The cause and circumstances surrounding this incident are unknown and investigators are working to determine exactly what occurred. ALL search operations for Mr. Mokkapoti are suspended: SAR crews are being recalled from the mountain and search operations are being re-evaluated.”

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue along with Sheriff’s Aviation have continued to actively search for Sreenivas “Sree” Mokkapati, a 52-year old, male resident of Irvine when he was last seen in the early morning hours.

According to a previous sheriff’s news release, “four hikers started their trek from the Village at Bear Flats to the Mt Baldy Summit. At some point during the hike, Sreenivas “Sree” Mokkapati was separated from the group. After returning to their car, Sree’s companions contacted Sheriff’s Dispatch.”

73 Search & Rescue volunteer members from 10 counties throughout California have responded to Mount Baldy to assist in searching a 34 square mile area for Sree Mokkapati.

Volunteers responded from Mono, San Mateo, Fresno, Marin, Tulare, Ventura, Riverside, Contra Costa, Los Angeles and Kern Counties. Several members of the National Ski Patrol are also assisting in the search.

Sheriff McMahon will be holding a press conference at 6:30 pm on December 14, 2019, to provide information on the situation involving our search and rescue member as well as overall search operations.

Additional information will be updated as it becomes available.

(Sreenivas “Sree” Mokkapati, 52-year old, male resident of Irvine)

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Related Article: Search & Rescue Volunteer found dead on Mt. Baldy was a 9-year-veteran

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