GRANITE FALLS, Wash. (AP) — A partial ice cave collapse in northwest Washington killed one person and injured four others Monday evening, a Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman said.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said late Monday night that the person who was killed remained buried under the debris at the popular Big Four Ice Caves east of Granite Falls.
All victims were believed accounted for.
Three of the injured, including a 25-year-old man in critical condition, were airlifted to a Seattle trauma center. Also airlifted to Harborview Medical Center were a seriously injured 35-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman in satisfactory condition, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. Their injuries included cuts and leg and pelvic fractures, Gregg said.
A fourth person, a young girl, was sent to an Everett, Washington, hospital, the Daily Herald of Everett reported.
The U.S. Forest Service warned hikers in May that the ice caves were in their “most dangerous state” due to unseasonably warm weather. The caves about 70 miles northeast of Seattle are a popular hiking destination in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Temperatures in the area Monday reportedly were in the mid 80s.
The caves are formed by avalanches that cascade down from nearby Big Four Mountain during winter and spring. Most years, one or more caves form as the ice melts.
In 2010, an 11-year-old girl was killed at the caves by falling ice.
On Sunday, a hiker filmed a section of the caves tumbling down. Several tourists were inside a cave during that collapse, but there were no reported injuries.