The search for a skier who vanished in California on Christmas Day has now been called off after authorities behind the effort say “there is no realistic possibility” that he “survived the severe winter conditions.”
The somber announcement from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office regarding the status of Rory Angelotta comes as the Lake Tahoe region where he disappeared is wrapping up its snowiest December on record, researchers say.
“This was a difficult decision, especially for the volunteers who have worked so hard to bring Rory home,” the sheriff’s office said. “Unfortunately, it was a decision that had to be made. Our hearts go out to the family.”
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Angelotta, a 43-year-old from Truckee, was reported missing on Christmas night by his friends after he told them he was going skiing at the Northstar California Resort and then failed to show up for dinner.
Investigators say they discovered his ski pass was last scanned at a lift around 11:30 a.m. and found his vehicle parked at the resort.
As of Friday, Angelotta’s whereabouts remain unknown.
“Over six days, a combined total of over 13,000 personnel hours has been committed to this operation. Approximately 220 personnel from 17 different agencies and rescue organizations have braved extreme winter mountain conditions in their search for Rory,” the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said after calling off the search.
“The search conditions included high winds, whiteout conditions, overnight temperatures in the teens, and over seven feet of new snow since the beginning of the search,” it added. “Resources deployed included Nordic skiers, snowshoers, snowcats, snowmobiles, a Blackhawk helicopter, and a CHP helicopter deploying advanced aerial borne radar technology.”