A Canadian man whose disappearance from a New York ski resort last week prompted a mass search was found safe in Sacramento Tuesday, according to the New York State Police Department. He was said to be wearing the same heavy ski gear he had on when he went missing.
Constantinos “Danny” Filippidis, a Toronto firefighter, made contact with Sacramento area officers and was “alive and in good health,” ending the nearly six-day search for him at the Whiteface Mountain ski resort in Wilmington, New York, where he was last seen, the New York state police said in a release.
He was found sometime after calling his wife on Tuesday, said Frank Ramagnano, the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association president. Ramagnano spoke at a press release Tuesday, and his comments were posted online by a Toronto TV news station.
Filippidis’ wife convinced him to dial 911, leading local police to find him in Sacramento, Ramagnano said. Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Shaun Hampton said the department handled the call.
When officers found Filippidis, he appeared confused and unable to give direct answers, according to Ramagnano.
“I’m told he still had the same clothing that he was skiing in and the authorities seemed to indicate that it looked like he had been in those clothes since he’s been missing,” Ramagnano said.
He was in medical care as of Tuesday afternoon.
Filippidis, 49, was reported missing Feb. 7 after his friends could not find him as the resort was closing, local news outlets reported. His belongings were left behind at the resort and his car was in the parking lot.
Officials began looking for him hours later, with search efforts initially headed by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers, state police and resort staff. The state’s emergency management and fire prevention department, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection later joined the effort.
Helicopters and drones searched to no avail, as did a search committee that numbered 140.
A report in Syracuse.com said 80 of Filippidis’ colleagues from the fire department were among those searching for him in the resort.
Jon Lundin, a spokesman for the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority, which runs the ski resort, was quoted as saying Filippidis was there for an annual ski trip with his colleagues. When the others stopped in the afternoon to get something to eat at a lodge, he left them and said he wanted to take one more run.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said in an interview with Toronto’s City News that Filippidis was “outgoing, positive, larger than life” and “a pleasure to be around.”
An investigation into what happened continues, Ramagnano said.