Missing Whiteface skier found safe - in California

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A Toronto firefighter who disappeared during a ski trip in upstate NY has been found "alive and in good health" in Sacramento, Calif. Searchers, including 80 Toronto firefighters, combed the mountain for the sixth day, starting this morning at 8 a.m. When police located Filippidis they were concerned and got him medical attention, according to Ramagnano, who said it was his understanding that Filippidis was still receiving medical care.

Filippidis remains in hospital and his family and colleagues are relieved he was found alive, Ramagnano said.

"He related to the officers that he had been skiing in NY, believed he had hit his head or had been hit in the head", Sacramento County Police Sgt. Shaun Hampton said. After the ski center closed at 4 p.m., his friends found a bag with his shoes in the lodge and his vehicle in the parking lot, but they couldn't find him.

Authorities launched a search for 49-year-old skier Constantinos "Danny" Filippidis on Whiteface Mountain last Wednesday afternoon after his companions reported him missing. He said Filippidis was skiing with one other person but when that person started to feel tired, he said Filippidis chose to do "one last run" by himself.

An investigation into what happened continues, Ramagnano said.

It did disrupt operations at Whiteface, Lundin said.

"I'll probably give him a smack when I see him for making us worry", he said laughing.

Officials say more than 140 people spent a combined 7,000 hours searching the rugged mountain terrain, calling in helicopters and search dogs to assist.

"After speaking with him (Filippidis) it sounds as if he may have gotten a ride in a big rig - he was unable to provide us with a description of the big rid or a description of the driver of the big rig - but he was found with cash in his possession and a Visa card and a cell phone he had recently purchased", he said.

Numerous agencies, including State Police, State Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and ORDA took part in the five-and-a-half-day search.

Ramagnano called the response from fellow firefighters "tremendous", with about 100 volunteering to aid in the search efforts.

In his statement, Pegg thanked "all those who participated in the search" for Filippidis.

"It was an active search", Lundin said in response to that question. Skiers and snowboarders at Whiteface Mountain who may see anything out of the ordinary are asked to notify the mountain's ski patrol.

The two are expeditionary studies majors at their college and received emails about joining the search for the lost skier.

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