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Big Four Ice Caves Collapse Kills 1, Injures 4 Following Warnings

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 09:23 AM

A collapse at the Big Four Ice Caves in Washington state on Monday night killed one person and injured four following warnings of instability at the popular hiking destination caused by climbing temperatures. 

Starting in May, county officials advised ice cave visitors at the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to exercise caution because the unusually warm weather sweeping across the Northwest was causing sections of the caves to collapse, according to The Seattle Times.

 


The identity, gender, and age of the deceased victim have not yet been confirmed because the body has not yet been recovered, according to CNN. It was the first fatality at the caves since 2010.

“Because conditions of the ice are so dangerous at this point, teams from Everett Mountain rescue and other search and rescue volunteers are looking at conditions to see how safe it is before they go in,” said Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton.

More than 100 rescuers arrived after a caller reported the collapse around 5:38 p.m. on Monday, according to The Times. The temperature near Granite Falls had risen to 80 degrees at 5 p.m., as well. The area has been closed indefinitely.

“There was a large pile of ice and rock that came down,” said Ireton. “In many ways, it was similar to an avalanche.”

The four injured in the collapse near the entrance to the caves were flown by helicopter to area hospitals. A 25-year-old man is in critical condition, a 35-year-old man is in serious condition, and a 35-year-old woman is in satisfactory condition. All were being treated for leg and pelvic factures, as well as head lacerations. A juvenile girl was treated with less serious injuries, as well.

The most recent death at the caves occurred in 2010 when 11-year-old Grace Tam was crushed by a chunk of falling ice, according to the Daily Mail. Although her family sued, saying the U.S. Forest Service did not adequately warn visitors about possible avalanches, the case was dismissed. A sign in memory of Tam was later installed to warn visitors.

 


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A collapse at the Big Four Ice Caves in Washington state on Monday night killed one person and injured four following warnings of instability at the popular hiking destination caused by climbing temperatures.
big, four, ice, caves, collapse, kills
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2015-23-08
Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 09:23 AM
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