Authorities warned hikers of danger

By Maria Coder
Updated July 07, 2015 08:00 AM
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Credit: Genna Martin/The Herald/AP

An ice cave popular with hikers partially collapsed, killing one person and injuring at least four others in Washington state, authorities say.

The victim remains buried under tons of ice and snow because rescuers had to halt recovery efforts at nightfall Monday.

The collapse happened at about 5 p.m. Monday at the Big Four Ice Caves, located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, east of Seattle, according to the Associated Press.

They’re essentially a frozen-over avalanche shoot sitting over a waterfall, sitting below a giant rock shoot, Ireton told the AP. It’s incredibly dangerous.

The caves are formed by avalanches that cascade down from nearby Big Four Mountain during winter and spring. Most years, as the ice melts a cave is formed.

Authorities had warned and put up signs saying the caves were dangerous because of the unseasonably warm weather. Temperatures on Monday were in the 80s.

Three of the injured were airlifted to a Seattle trauma center. They include a 25-year-old man in critical condition, a seriously injured 35-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman in satisfactory condition, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. Their injuries include cuts, as well as leg and pelvis fractures. A fourth person – a girl with minor injuries – was sent to an Everett, Washington, hospital. Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett also expected a second patient, a spokeswoman said late Monday night.

At this point, it’s believed all victims have been accounted for.

Monday marked the second day in a row that there has been an ice cave collapse at Big Four Mountain. While no one was injured in Sunday’s collapse, a visitor did capture footage first-hand of a cave tumbling down.

Monday’s tragic incident is the first time anyone has died at the caves since 2011.