Breaking News Emails
Authorities on Tuesday recovered the body of a 34-year-old hiker trapped when an ice cave partially collapsed at a popular Washington state forest Monday afternoon.
The unidentified female victim was found after search teams used small explosives at the Big Four Ice Caves in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to dislodge debris and check for ice stability at the cave, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.
The victim’s body was then hoisted free using a sheriff’s helicopter. She was being transported by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, reported NBC affiliate KING5 in Seattle.
Five others survived the falling debris at the ice cave, about 70 miles northeast of Seattle. The first emergency calls came in at 5:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. ET).
Among the survivors were a 14-year-old girl, a 25-year-old man who was upgraded from critical to serious condition on Tuesday morning and a 35-year-old man upgraded from serious to satisfactory condition, KING5 said.
While the area draws hikers for its unique formations, signs warn visitors to stay on the paths and not to wander into the ice caves, which are prone to avalanches. Warmer weather makes the caves unstable, park rangers said.
The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that the partially collapsed cave is still shedding ice and will continue to do so until "the cave no longer exists."