British actor Julian Sands named after hiker lost in California mountains

Julian Sands disappeared while on a hiking trip in southern California - Clara Molden

Julian Sands disappeared while on a hiking trip in southern California – Clara Molden

British actor Julian Sands has been identified as the name of a hiker who has been missing for more than five days during freezing temperatures on a mountain in Southern California.

Search teams faced avalanche risk as they searched the snow to track down the 65-year-old married father, who was last seen at the Baldy Bowl trail area in the San Gabriel Mountains on Friday night. Conditions became so dangerous that the ground mission had to be halted, but on Wednesday drones and helicopters were hovering over the ice.

Sands is known for her roles in the films A Room With A View, Leaving Las Vegas, and Warlock, as well as TV appearances in 24, Smallville, and Banshee. She developed a show with John Malkovich for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011 and also starred in the English version of the mystery movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The North Hollywood nature enthusiast has previously spoken of his love of nature, his “wonderful lifestyle in nature” and how he has climbed mountains all over the world.

Search teams scoured the snow to track down 65-year-old father George Pennacchio.

Search teams scoured the snow to track down 65-year-old father George Pennacchio.

Sands told Thrive Global that outdoor challenges during the coronavirus lockdowns are “about begging, altruism and humility.”

“It’s not self-congratulation, it’s the destruction of one’s self-consciousness,” he said. “And so you lose yourself in these walks, I hope you become a container of energy in harmony with your surroundings.

“I mean, two days ago, I was an old man at the top of a trail in the Santa Monica mountains begging people for water. Who cares if you’re a movie person, I was just someone who was so grateful for the kindness of strangers.”

Friends and family were aware that Sands was missing, but he only revealed his identity to the public on Thursday.

Julian Sands and John Malkovich starred in R4's 'Me, Cheeta'.

Julian Sands and John Malkovich star in R4’s ‘Me, Cheeta’

Julian Sands and John Malkovich pictured in The Killing Fields, 1984 - Shutterstock

Julian Sands and John Malkovich pictured in The Killing Fields, 1984 – Shutterstock

British filmmaker Cassian Elwes said she was “devastated” and prayed for Sands.

“A very close family friend who is an adventurer in everything he does,” wrote Elwes on Twitter.

Early on Thursday morning, he added: “Life is fleeting and precious.”

Actor Jim Piddock described Sands as “a wonderfully talented and unique man and a lovely, generous friend” and added that he “hopes for a miracle”.

His actor friend Melanie Kinnaman wrote: “Our friend Julian Sands has been missing for nearly a week on a hiking trip in the mountains of Southern California… Please pray for his safe return.”

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department urged hikers to “think twice and heed warnings,” adding that search and rescue teams responded to 14 calls in and around Mount Baldy last month.

“Recent storms bringing snow and ice conditions are not suitable for hikers, even those who feel they have a high level of experience,” a warning from sheriffs said.

Two people have died while adventuring in the mountains in recent weeks, and rescuers are still searching for Bob Gregory, another missing California resident, who was hiking in Crystal Lake on the same mountain range where Sands was last seen.

In a statement made by the ministry, “Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue teams intervened and started a search. Ground crews withdrew from the mountain on Saturday evening due to avalanche risks and road conditions.”

However, when the weather permits, we continue to search with helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.”

Ground searches would be scheduled when the weather improved and conditions were safer for rescuers.

Sands, who most recently played the role of chief physician in the 2021 drama Benediction starring Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi, lives in the USA with his wife, journalist Evgenia Citkowitz, with whom he has two daughters.

He also shares a son with his ex-wife, journalist Sarah Sands.

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