A UC Santa Cruz student was found Monday in Yosemite National Park after being missing for several days during a backpacking trip with friends, park officials reported.
The park service had put together a search team to find 22-year-old John Paul Chaufan Field, who went missing Saturday morning near a campsite at Kibbie Lake in the northwestern part of the park.
Chaufan Field was spotted by a helicopter about 3:15 p.m. near Edith Lake, about five miles east of Kibbie Lake. He was unharmed and in good health.
It was discovered that Chaufan Field was missing about 11 a.m. Saturday when the group of about 10 college students took a head count before leaving on a day hike. When the group returned, his tent and other possessions were at the camp, but he wasn't there.
The group waited for Chaufan Field to return, but by the end of the day the trip leader decided to hike out and report that their companion was missing.
In such situations, a person's chance of survival depends on his or her wilderness ability, the weather and how long the person has been missing, said Karri Cobb, spokeswoman for Yosemite.
"There's an abundance of water in the area and it hasn't been freezing," she said. "As far as weather and water goes, that's a pretty good scenario."
About 50 people were involved in the operation, including search-and-rescue teams from Contra Costa, Marin and Monterey counties. The Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit also joined park officials in the effort.
"Every year, we have some sort of search for individuals," Cobb said. "Typically what will happen is that we will do full-scale searches for several days. But if in several days we have no evidence to their location, then we'll start scaling back."
The last time someone went missing in the park was in September in Tuolumne Meadows, according to park officials.
The individual, a senior, was found dead in his tent of natural causes. In June, park officials conducted a search for a missing person on the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail. That individual never was found.
Reporter Joshua Emerson Smith can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.