A hiking partner and close-friend of Julian Sands says he is “remaining hopeful” of the actor’s safe return, as searches passed the two-week mark.
Fellow actor Kevin Ryan said Sands was a “smart guy” and “very strong willed”, with lots of experience to tackle the treacherous conditions.
Sands was first reported missing on January 13, with numerous searches being undertaken on foot and by air by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies.
On Thursday helicopters were grounded again due to “powerful high winds” in the Mount Baldy region of the San Gabriel Mountains – where the actor disappeared.
Authorities have previously used a Recco device for aerial searches, which can detect electronics and credit cards.
The sheriff’s department previously said it was “hopeful” that the technology would be able to more accurately pinpoint an area on which to focus search efforts.
Speaking to Fox News, Mr Ryan said everyone around him was holding onto optimism of finding his friend.
“I think during an episode like this where every agonising day by day, hour by hour goes by, you get more worried about a safe return,” he added.
Friend of Julian Sands, who has hiked 'incredibly hard' Mt. Baldy with Sands, calls actor 'extremely advanced' https://t.co/gEd6Na3R5Y— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 27, 2023
“But all we have in a situation like this is hope. One of the things, as I said, is how advanced Julian is, and he’s a smart guy, and I’m remaining hopeful that he’s holding out, you know, surviving.”
The pair met on the set of the 2014 US drama series Crossbones Sands, which starred John Malkovich.
“One of the common things that I had with Julian was hiking. I live in California, in Los Angeles, and so does he, so we decided to go hiking a couple of times,” Mr Ryan told Fox News.
“He’s actually the one that introduced me to Mount Baldy which I’ve done a number of times, twice in the winter.
“It’s an incredibly hard hike with those weather conditions, you’re talking about six to eight to nine hours to get to the summit. When it’s icy it’s very challenging.”
UPDATE: The search for Julian Sands continues by air only. The California Highway Patrol –Valley Division Air Ops from Auburn, California, is currently assisting us in the search using a RECCO device RECCO - Be Searchable. RECCO technology can detect RECCO reflective material,— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) January 25, 2023
He added: “I know Julian is an extremely advanced hiker and very strong willed. He’s very, very fit and we’re holding out strong but it’ll be a positive return for him.”
Sands’ family previously praised the “heroic” efforts of Californian authorities conducting the search efforts, despite the ongoing conditions.
In a statement, also shared by the sheriff’s department, his family said they were “deeply touched” by the support they had received in the days since his disappearance.
As well as his television roles, Sands is known for multiple big screen appearances, including A Room With A View, and horror films including Warlock and Arachnophobia.