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Body of snowboarder found in ice cave collapse

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:03 a.m. HST, Aug 04, 2013

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. >> A dozen rescuers armed with chain saws and other tools chipped away at tons of ice and snow today to the recover the body of a 25-year-old snowboarder killed when an ice tunnel collapsed on Oregon's Mount Hood.

The snowboarder, Collin Backowski, of Colorado, was traveling with five companions when the collapse hit Saturday afternoon. The others tried to dig him out but could not break through the ice and snow, which an official described as being as thick as concrete.

Rescuers quickly responded but halted efforts about 11 p.m. Saturday, then resumed early Sunday morning.

Hood River Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Tiffany Peterson said that after removing tons of debris by hand, searchers found Backowski where he had been buried by 8 to 10 feet of snow and ice.

None of the searchers or other snowboarders was injured, Peterson said.

The ice tunnel was on the White River Glacier, which begins about 6,000 feet up the south side of the mountain.

An airplane was dispatched to survey the area, along with crews from local sheriff's offices.

Seven rescuers, including five members of an all-volunteer group called the CragRats, were on the mountain on Saturday night.

Companions took pictures of the area just before the tunnel collapsed, giving searchers a better idea of where to look.

Warm temperatures made snow on the mountain slushier and more easily sloughed off the surface, adding to the challenge of attempting to reach the snowboarder.

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cojef wrote:
Would have thought that proceeding in the ice tunnel with that type of vehicle is suicidal, being as snowmobile create vibrations by its tracks as well as the roar of the motor. The ice tunnel environment is sensitive to vibrations since stress and strain of snow and ice are part of its make-up or creation. Further, waming climatic changes increase this danger.
on August 4,2013 | 08:30AM
inverse wrote:
The guy who died was identified as a snowboarder not snowmobiler. The ice tunnel that collapsed over the snowboarder and is pictured in the article shows the tunnel floor is completely covered with big rocks and ice chunks that can be traversed only by foot. There would be no snowboard or ski run inside the tunnel and more likely he went inside for the fun of exploring. As you mentioned bad decision to go inside in the summer month of August when temperatures fluctuate above freezing on that glacier and seriously degrade the integrity of the ice cave structure.
on August 4,2013 | 09:23PM
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