Skier missing from Whiteface Mountain found alive in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (WCAX) Police say a skier who went missing on Whiteface Mountain has been found alive and well in California.

Constantinos "Danny" Filippidis

Crews started searching for Constantinos "Danny" Filippidis, 49, a firefighter from Toronto, last Wednesday. He was reported missing from Whiteface in Northern New York after the lifts closed that day, and in the midst of a snowstorm.

Tuesday, New York State Police reported Filippidis was found alive and well in Sacramento, California. They say he made contact with authorities there, ending a seven-day multi-agency search at Whiteface in Wilmington. New York State Police say the circumstances of the case are still under investigation. There's no word yet on how Filippidis ended up in California or why he didn't come forward when media reports about his disappearance began circulating. However, Filippidis was reportedly still wearing the same clothes he disappeared in.

"We're extremely happy for Danny, his family, his friends that he is alive and they will be reunited. We understand that there will be speculation and many questions at this time. However, please appreciate that authorities will be conducting a full and thorough investigation into what transpired," said Frank Ramagano of Toronto Firefighters Local 3888. "I'm told that 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 had been missing."

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. The search used many different state agencies, as well as the Toronto firefighters association. About 80 volunteers came down from north of the border. Filippidis was with a group of Toronto firefighters on an annual ski trip to Whiteface when he disappeared.

Meanwhile, riders on the mountain who have been following the search could not believe Tuesday's news.

Reporter Kelly O'Brien: So you haven't heard where he was found, right?
Thomas Lathbury/Philadelphia: No, I have not.
Kelly O'Brien: He was found alive.
Thomas Lathbury: Very Good.
Kelly O'Brien: In California.
Thomas Lathbury: OK? Didn't hear that, no.

Lathbury looked confused and that is what many folks are feeling. There are still a lot of questions to be answered in this case. It is still under investigation by New York State Police. They plan to hold a press conference Wednesday to release more information.