Big Four Ice Caves collapsed, leaving one person dead and four others injured.
The incident occurred on Monday, July 6, at the Big Four Ice Caves near Granite Falls, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. One person was killed, while three others were flown to Harborview Medical Center, the regional trauma center.
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 at Harborview Medical Center, AJCreports. A young female was taken to Providence Hospital in Everett. The body of the person who was killed remains in the cave, covered in debris, and has not yet been recovered. There identities have not been released.
— Gary Horcher (@GaryKIRO7) July 7, 2015
The Sheriff’s Office helicopter was dispatched to the Big Four Ice Caves shortly before 6 p.m. as responders headed to the Verlot Visitors Center.
“The parking lot was full with response teams and medical units and stuff like that,” John Scott, a witness who shot a cellphone video of people being transferred from rescue helicopters to medical choppers, said, according to KIRO-TV. “They were being talked to, so they were responsive, but they were in [back] braces.”
Snohomish Co. Sheriff’s Office confirm that 1 person is dead and 4 injured at the Big Four Ice Caves. The ice caves are closed indefinitely. — KING5Now (@KING5Now) July 7, 2015
Sara Soleimani posted a video on YouTube on Sunday showing the roof of the cave collapsing. While there were people in there at the time, no one was injured. In the video, people can be seen emerging from the cave, some shaking their heads, while others observe the fallen ice.
“You could [have been] killed,” a woman could be heard saying.
U.S. Forest Service officials had warned visitors in May that the cave was too dangerous for exploration due to unseasonably warm weather prior to the incident, according to Reuters. The Big Four Ice Caves are home to a popular hiking trail and are located in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
“The cave is in a condition that we would normally not see until at least September — large, inviting and collapsing,” Lead Field Ranger Matthew Riggen said.
“It’s not illegal to go in the caves, but we’ve been saying since mid-May that it’s extremely dangerous,” said a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. The sheriff’s department also noted that the area around the caves will be closed indefinitely.
[Photo via Shutterstock]