A massive search and rescue operation for missing 1st Lt. Matthew Kraft along a 195-mile trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range has been scaled back.
The nearly multiweek search effort that has included numerous state, military and local agencies has now transitioned into “limited continuous search,” the 1st Marine Division announced in a command release Saturday.
Kraft was believed to be on a backcountry hiking and ski trip along a trail known as the Sierra High Route, but failed to return home on the scheduled end of the trip around March 4 or 5.
A command release said aerial and ground teams have yet to find any “substantial clues” that would link Kraft to a specific region.
Aircraft equipped with thermal and night vision tech spotted several areas of interest that later turned out to be animal-related activity, the release said.
Electronic equipment used to find people buried in avalanches was also employed.
“Backcountry snow instability and weather issues, including high winds, have been a significant challenge for search crews,” the release said.
“Both aerial and ground searches have identified avalanche activity, cornices, and snow bridges throughout the wilderness, including along the Sierra High Route."
Search efforts, though limited, will continue until Kraft is found.
If you have information, or were in the search area around Feb. 23 when Kraft set out on his trip, please call 559-565-4286.