Hope Dwindles for Oakland Man Stuck on Mt. Shasta

Wednesday, Mar 31, 2010  |  Updated 6:00 PM PDT
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Hope Dwindles for Oakland Man Stuck on Mt. Shasta

AP

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Rescue teams planned to make another attempt Thursday to find a climber stranded near the top of California's Mount Shasta after bad weather hampered search efforts Wednesday for a third straight day.
     
Poor visibility prevented a helicopter crew from completing a reconnaissance flight to the top of the 14,126-foot mountain near the California-Oregon border, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.

Rescuers have been trying to reach 26-year-old Thomas Bennett of Oakland since Monday. Bennett collapsed near the summit after he and a friend were trapped by severe winds as they tried to descend the summit.

His friend, Mark Thomas, an engineer from Berkeley, was rescued Monday after he climbed down by himself. Thomas told authorities his friend was unconscious and he believed he could be dead.

Thomas told authorities he left Bennett in a snow cave with water, candy bars and granola. He was able to show authorities Bennett's location on a map.

Rangers had been prevented this week from conducting a search by winds as strong as 55 miles per hour, freezing temperatures and stormy weather. Authorities had hoped for a break in the storm to conduct a search Wednesday.

A high pressure system was expected to bring warmer conditions and very little precipitation, said Michael Brien, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Medford.

A CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the California National Guard was standing by to make another attempt, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp.

"We are proceeding with the printing of the ballots without his  (Toler's) name," Assistant Registrar of Voters Lindsey McWilliams said Wednesday morning.
 

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