Rescue crews searching Mount Baldy for missing Irvine hiker

MOUNT BALDY, Calif. (KABC) -- Crews were spread out across Mount Baldy as they continued searching for a missing Irvine man.

Sreenivas "Sree" Mokkapati and three other people went hiking Sunday, from the Village at Bear Flats to the Mount Baldy Summit.

During the hike, the 52-year-old Mokkapati became separated from the group, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Friends alerted authorities once they arrived to their car.

Sheriff's search and rescue teams and volunteers have joined the search for the missing man, working into Tuesday.

"We have 19 search and rescue volunteers on the ground, searching between Bear Flats and the summit. Two of those teams were inserted by helicopter," Cindy Bachman with the sheriff's department said.

Mokkapati's son said he is familiar with the trail.

"Very experienced. He's done like hikes in like San Gorgonio and Mount Whitney, he's done crazy hikes like those," Shravan Mokkapati said. "He's a regular Mount Baldy hiker, too. So I know he has experience hiking this mountain."

Mokkapati's family remains optimistic that rescuers will be able to find him.

"I feel alright, like I'm OK right now, but I wish I was with him. I wish I was with him on that hike," Shravan Mokkapati said. "He always takes me on hikes and sometimes I would say 'No.' Sometimes I would say, 'You just go by yourself.' But I wish I was with him that night."

Friends say Mokkapati was last seen wearing a gray "puffy" jacket and gray pants.

"If I see him again, I'm just gonna say, 'Give me you hiking gear. You're not going hiking again for sure.' And maybe even just like give him a hug and say, 'I love you,'" Mokkapati's son said.

Anyone with information regarding the search is urged to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Fontana station.
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