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1 dead, 4 injured in Washington ice cave collapse


  • In this July 2010 photo, visitors examine the Big Four Ice Caves in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest near Granite Falls, Wash. (Mark Mulligan/The Herald via AP)
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GRANITE FALLS, Wash. » A Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman says one person is dead and four others have been injured by a partial ice cave collapse in northwestern Washington.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Monday night that the person who was killed remained buried under the debris. She said recovery efforts have been suspended for the night.

Three of the injured, including one man in critical condition, have been airlifted to a Seattle trauma center. Ireton says a juvenile girl with minor injuries was sent to an Everett, Washington, hospital.

Authorities don’t believe anyone else is trapped.

The caves about 70 miles northeast of Seattle are a popular hiking destination in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. They have been closed until further notice

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.

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