Rescue efforts have been suspended indefinitely in the search for 23-year-old Carson May, who went missing after an avalanche occurred in the higher elevations of California.
May, who worked as a ski instructor for three years, was last seen by his brother skiing at a Donner Pass resort on Thursday afternoon when the avalanche struck. He was later reported missing when he failed to meet his friend later that day to get a ride home.
Authorities found his belongings still in a locker at the Sugar Bowl Resort, and weather reports indicate that nearly white-out conditions were taking place at the time May was on the mountain. They believe it is possible May got disoriented while traveling the backcountry of the resort and made a wrong turn.
According to SFGATE, at the time of his disappearance May is believed to have been wearing a blue Columbia jacket and bright green pants. He also had on a blue helmet.
More than three dozen rescuers from across the state participated in a five day long search for the missing man, who is believed to be buried somewhere underneath the snow. Among the rescuers included crews from the sheriff’s office and Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue. Helicopters from the California Highway Patrol and the California National Guard were also used in the search when weather conditions permitted.
Unfortunately, after five days of searching, rescuers found no sign of May. The decision to suspend the search was made due to the continued avalanche risk in the area, according to Sergeant Dave Hunt of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.
“We’re very disappointed we couldn’t find Carson”, he said.
According to the Sierra Avalanche Center, the region is under a high risk of “large and destructive” avalanches. The threat is even greater at the resort area where rescuers were searching for May, which is known to get some of the highest snowfall amounts around Tahoe.
“They’ve searched everything they can search. The avalanche danger is expected to go to extreme (on Wednesday)”, said Dena Erwin, spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. “After this many days, it’s just they had to make a decision.”