Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

1st Lt. Matthew Kraft

Backcountry search for Marine scaled back

Sarah Elliott / NPS reports


The massive search in the Sierra between Independence and Bridgeport, underway since March 5 to locate missing U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Matthew Kraft, 24, has transitioned to “limited continuous search status” until the missing man is found.
Kraft, from Washington, Conn., who was stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, set out on a solo ski trip February 24 with plans to complete the 195-mile Sierra High Route on March 4 or 5. On March 4, Kraft’s father contacted Mono County Sheriff after not hearing from his son. 
Backcountry snow instability and weather issues, including high winds, posed challenges for searchers. Aircraft with thermal and night vision imagery capabilities flew the route but turned up no signs of human travel. 
Search crews also employed RECCO technology, an electronic device to find people in an avalanche, to no avail. Not a single piece of evidence regarding Kraft’s location was discovered.
Agencies assisting in the search include U.S. Marine Corps, Mono County Sheriff, Mono County Search and Rescue, Inyo County Sheriff, Inyo County SAR, Madera County Sheriff, Fresno County Sheriff, Tulare County Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff, Sequoia and Kings National Parks,
Yosemite National Park, CHP H-80 and H-40, Air National Guard, Sierra Madre SAR, Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit, China Lake Naval Weapons Base, and California Office of Emergency Services.
Anyone in the search area from February 24 on who may have seen Kraft is asked to call (559) 565-4286. 
For background on this incident, go here.