BRIDGEPORT, Calif. (AP) — Avalanche debris was spotted during a search for a missing Mar­ine who failed to return from a backcountry ski­ing trip through the Sierra Nevada, California authorities said Sunday.

First Lt. Matthew Kraft began trekking the rugged Sierra High Route on Feb. 23 and was scheduled to com­plete it today or Tues­day near Bridgeport, north­east of Yosemite Na­tion­al Park.

The search on Sunday will primarily be air-based because “ground search­ing has proven to be too dangerous due to snow instability and av­al­anche con­cerns,” the Inyo Coun­ty Sheriff’s office said in a statement. Much of the area was deemed im­pass­able because of heavy snow and rock falls, the state­ment said.

Searchers on Friday lo­ca­ted a Jeep that Kraft parked at the start of his trip near Independence, about 130 miles south of Bridge­port, Inyo County Sher­iff’s spokeswoman Carma Roper said Sat­ur­day.

Crews from local, state and federal agencies were searching a 400-square-mile area from Yosemite down to Sierra and Inyo National Forests and Kings Canyon National Park, Roper said.

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