A Santa Cruz man was found safe Monday in Yosemite National Park after he disappeared from a group campsite three days ago.
John Paul Chaufan Field, 22, was last seen near Kibbie Lake in the northwestern region of the park, near Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, on Saturday. He was on a backpacking trip to the park with fellow students from the University of California at Santa Cruz, according to Yosemite spokeswoman Kari Cobb.
He was found safe and in good condition near Edith Lake, about five miles east of where he went missing.
Emergency personnel on the park’s contract helicopter spotted Chaufan Field from the air at 3:15 p.m.
The UCSC group began its backpacking trip from Cherry Lake on Friday and set up camp near Kibbie Lake that evening. The group chose to go on a day hike at around 11 a.m. Saturday, and it was noticed that Chaufan Field was not present during a headcount. He was still missing an hour later when the group reassembled, Cobb said.
About 50 rescue workers with Contra Costa, Marin and Monterey counties, Bay Area Mountain Rescue, and Yosemite Search and Rescue led the search for Chaufan Field. Crews also used two helicopters and search dog teams to scour the area.
The number of deaths in Yosemite so far this season is far lower than it was in 2011, when a total of 12 people died in accidents within the park. More than 4 million people visited the park last year and park officials expect about the same number to visit this year.
“We’ve seen the same visitation that we had last year, but we haven’t seen anywhere near the fatalities that we had last year,” Cobb said. “And we hope that continues.”
The only accidental death in Yosemite this year was in January when a seasonal park ranger was killed by a falling tree. Chapel Hill, N.C. resident Ryan Hiller, 27, was crushed to death after a freak wind storm blew the tree onto his tent cabin in Curry Village.
The body of an Ann Arbor, Mich., skier was found Thursday after he went missing on April 19 near Mount Dana, just north of the Yosemite Park boundary in Mono County.
Boris Avdeev, 31, was found in “Cocaine Chute” by Mono County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue after his black Honda Civic was found parked off Tioga Pass Road.
A note on the car’s windshield said the man planned to ski from Mount Dana Couloir to Cocaine Chute, according to the Sheriff’s Office. A cause of death was not known Monday, however avalanches had been reported in the area around the time Avdeev went missing.