Missing Marine

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division, shows missing Marine 1st Lt. Matthew Kraft. Authorities in California searched for a sixth day Saturday, March 9, 2019, for Kraft after he failed to return from a backcountry skiing trip through the Sierra Nevada. (Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Cal­ifornia searched for a sixth day Saturday for a missing Marine after he failed to return from a backcountry skiing trip through the Sierra Nevada.

First Lt. Matthew Kraft began trekking a section of the rugged Sierra High Route on Feb. 23 and was scheduled to complete it on Monday or Tuesday near Bridgeport, a town north­east of Yosemite National Park, 1st Marine Capt. Paul Gainey said.

Kraft is an infantry of­ficer who received survival training in the field.

“He has the skills to sur­vive in austere en­vi­ron­ments, and we’re hoping for the best here,” Gainey said.

Searchers located on Friday night 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.

Thick clouds have hin­dered the search from the air, and winter weather has made searches by ski on the ground unsafe, she said. Another storm was in the forecast Saturday af­ter­noon through the weekend.

A series of winter storms has dumped rec­ord amounts of snow in the Sierra and led to av­al­anche warnings in the backcountry.

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