Family of actor Julian Sands say they are 'deeply touched' by support

Family of Julian Sands ‘deeply touched’ by support and hail ‘heroic’ efforts of Californian authorities looking for the British actor in the San Gabriel mountains – but conditions are still too dangerous for ground crews as aerial search enters 11th day

  • Julian Sands, 65, was reported missing on January 13 in the Baldy Bowl area
  • Helicopters and drones are being used in the search for the British actor
  • Fellow mountain climber Sarah Crosby has also shared a tribute 

The family of Julian Sands have praised the ‘heroic’ efforts of Californian authorities conducting the search for the missing British actor.

Sands, 65, was reported missing on a hiking trip in the Baldy Bowl area of the San Gabriel mountains and has not been seen for 10 days, as temperatures in the area hover just above the freezing mark.

A statement shared by local law enforcement read: ‘Our heartfelt thanks to the compassionate members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who are coordinating the search for our beloved Julian, not least the heroic search teams listed below who are braving difficult conditions on the ground and in the air to bring Julian home.’

The statement went on to list various organisations involved in the search. ‘We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support,’ it added.

Julian Sands is pictured sitting on a peak of the Weisshorn mountain in the Swiss Alps 

Pictured: Julian Sands and wife Evgenia Citkowitz. Sands, 65, was reported missing on a hiking trip in the Baldy Bowl area of the San Gabriel mountains at around 19:30 local time on January 13, as searches by local authorities continue by ‘helicopter and drones when weather permits’

In a message sharing the statement, the sheriff’s department added: ‘As we enter day 11 of the search for Julian Sands on Mt. Baldy, we are reminded of the sheer determination & selflessness of all of the people who have aided in this search. 

‘We will continue to utilize the resources available to us.’ 

It comes after federal agencies joined efforts to find Sands, using mobile phone forensics to help pinpoint the actor’s location. 

Today, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s department told the PA news agency that conditions were still too dangerous for ground crews to operate, and that searches would be conducted by helicopter only. 

It was previously revealed that pings from Sands’ phone appeared to show he had been on the move heading further into the mountainous area of Baldy Bowl on the day he was reported missing. 

The department also previously said that there was still ‘no hard deadline’ and ‘no date set’ for calling off efforts – and the incident is still being classified as a search and rescue operation. 

Jon Cryer posted a message on January 19 

Matthew Modine also tweeted a message of hope on January 19

Searches by local authorities continue by ‘helicopter and drones when weather permits’. 

A car belonging to Sands was found on Thursday. It was close to the spot where he was reported missing at around 19:30 local time on January 13. 

On Friday, ground crews were still unable to continue the search for Sands due to the avalanche risk in the area.

The search has been heightened of late as officials use mobile phone forensics to help pinpoint the location of the actor.

‘There has been no new update or witness information about his whereabouts since then,’ Gloria Huerta, Public Information Officer for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department told the BBC on Friday.

‘The air search is being resumed, but we have not been able to resume a ground search yet due to icy conditions and a threat of avalanches,’ said Huerta. 

Cryer tweeted: ‘I am hoping against hope that this will turn out to be just another one of his adventures. I’m so sorry for his family and friends going through this.’

Modine also took to Twitter to post: ‘#JulianSands is a wonderful man, husband, father, and friend to so so many.

‘A gentle, kind soul. Keep candles burning for his safe return from the mountain he loves.’

Fellow mountain climber Sarah Crosby shared a tribute yesterday. 

‘Praying for Julian Sands, who we got to know on Mt. Kilimanjaro,’ she wrote on Twitter.  

‘He regaled us with Shakespeare and Keats and was the first person to capture us as an engaged couple. He even carried a hunk of the mountain down to present to us. He is such a beautiful soul.’

The weather is currently around 3°C (38°F) at Mount Baldy. There is a high wind warning for Southwestern California. The official guidance states: ‘Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines. Power outages are possible. Travel will be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.’ 

Sands, 65, was reported missing by his family after disappearing in the dangerous mountain range. He is pictured in a recent image released by his family to police to aid the search

On Friday a spokesman for San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said: ‘On January 15, 2023, phone pings showed Sands to be heading to the Mount Baldy area.

‘Additional phone pings from the cell provider were attempted but were unsuccessful, due to the lack of cell service and most likely cell phone power failure.

‘A delayed ping through Sands’ Apple iPhone operating system, from January 14, 2023, provided a possible location on one of the trails leading to the summit of Mount Baldy. This area was checked by ground searchers and by helicopter.’

The spokesman added: ‘Ground and air searchers were unable to locate any evidence in this area that would assist in locating Mr. Sands. Because of avalanche risks and trail conditions, the ground crews were pulled off the mountain on Saturday evening.

‘However, the search continues by helicopter and drones when the weather permits. Additional ground searches will be scheduled when the weather improves, and it is safe for our rescue crews.’

Sands is known for his roles in popular film and television shows, including A Room With A View, 24 and Smallville.

He has three children, and lives in the North Hollywood neighbourhood of Los Angeles with his wife, writer Evgenia Citkowitz. 

Police had previously said that they plan to continue looking for Sands, and there is ‘no hard deadline’ for ending their search mission.

A map of the area in which Julian Sands, 65, was reported missing 

The region is home to some of the most popular trails in Los Angeles, California

His family reported him missing at 7.30pm on January 13 and rescuers recovered a snow-covered car, which was towed away

On Thursday, the actor’s family members towed his car from a car park where it was found.

Authorities have given ‘no time set’ for when ground searches will resume.

The incident is still being classified as a search and rescue operation.

As California has been buffeted by winter storms, weather conditions on the mountain have inhibited attempts to assist missing and injured hikers, including Sands. 

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department previously warned hikers to ‘think twice and heed warnings’ as weather conditions in the area worsened.

The department reported its search and rescue teams had responded to 14 calls on and around Mount Baldy over the last four weeks.

‘It is extremely dangerous and even experienced hikers are getting in trouble,’ police said. 

Actor Julian Sands was reported missing on January 13 after failing to return from a hiking trip

Pictured: Sands and Helena Bonham Carter on set for the award-winning 1985 film A Room With A View

Sands’ first major production was 1984’s The Killing Fields, the acclaimed historical drama about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (pictured alongside John Malkovich)

Julian’s son Henry – himself an experienced hiker – flew out to California last week and is assisting with the search of Mount Baldy.

Henry, 37, is understood to have retraced the route his father took – some 40-miles from Los Angeles – but was also forced to abandon his efforts due to poor weather.

A relative told MailOnline on Saturday: ‘Henry has been in the US since the weekend and is helping the search. The problem is that the weather is hampering rescue efforts.

‘We are extremely worried but we’re hoping that Julian will be found safe and well. We’ll be looking to see how things evolve over the next few days.’

Federal and state agencies in the United States said Friday they would join the search amid worsening weather conditions and avalanche risks that have halted the work of ground crews.

Sands has spoken previously about his love for hiking and mountain climbing, and said in 2020 he was happiest ‘close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning’.

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