A day after the Big Four Ice Caves collapse on Monday, authorities pulled the body of a woman from the debris.
At around 5 p.m. PST on Monday, the Big Four Ice Caves collapse occurred. Five people were injured and one hiker was killed. The first emergency calls were received around 5:30 p.m. PST.
It took a half-hour for 911 calls to come in because there is no cell phone reception at the site of the ice caves. Chloe Jakubowski, an 18-year-old hiker that was spared any serious injury in the collapse, drove 15 miles with three other witnesses in order to get to a pay phone.
Jakubowski explained the horrible collapse to the Seattle Times. She mentioned that she heard a cracking sound, then ice and other debris fell from the caves.
“As soon as it stopped I looked up and looked around me and it was extremely gruesome, honestly,” the hiker said. “Everybody there, we grabbed everybody out and helped as best we could.”
Forest Service officials have been clear about the dangers within the Big Four Ice Caves. It is a popular destination for hikers in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie area, but it is very unstable. In fact, it’s in a more dangerous state than usual.
Matthew Riggen, a ranger with the Forest Service, stated in May that “the cave is in a condition that we would normally not see until at least September.”
There has been a heat wave in Washington from the high 80s to the low 90s, except for today, since June 29. That heat has drastically weakened the ice caves.
“They are essentially a frozen-over avalanche chute sitting over a waterfall sitting below a giant rock chute,” Shari Ireton told the Seattle Times. “It’s incredibly dangerous.”
The day before the deadly collapse, another tragedy almost occurred.
A hiker was able to film a partial collapse of the ice caves. There were people inside the cave when it occurred, but no one was hurt.
(Video: mildly explicit language)
The name and information of the woman killed in the collapse on Monday has not been released to the media.
Those injured in the ice caves include two 35-year-olds (a man and a woman), a 25-year-old man, a 14-year-old girl, and one unidentified person. Three of them were taken to the hospital in serious to critical condition. All of them were doing better by Tuesday.
“Areas of the caves are still collapsing and will continue to do so until the caves no longer exists. No one should go in or near the caves,” Peter Teske, a Search and Rescue Deputy said. “The area is not safe.”
[ Image courtesy of YouTube ]