1 dead, 5 injured in ice cave collapse near Granite Falls

GRANITE FALLS, Wash. -- Authorities said one person died and five others were injured when part of an ice cave collapsed Monday in the North Cascades. Three of them were taken to a Seattle trauma center.

Officials first confirmed that there may be injured people trapped inside the Big Four Ice Caves around 6 p.m. Monday.

The first 9-1-1 call was received at 5:38 p.m., about 45 minutes after the collapse.

The sheriff's office Helicopter Rescue Team was able to reach the three seriously injured people and transport them to the Big Four Ice Caves Picnic area. From there, AirLift Northwest transported them to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Spokesperson Susan Gregg said a 25-year-old man was in serious condition and a 35-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were in satisfactory condition. Their injuries ranged from head lacerations to leg fractures.

The 35-year-old woman was released Tuesday.

A juvenile girl who suffered minor injuries and another person were taken to Providence hospital in Everett.

The Big Four Ice Caves area is closed until further notice while search-and-rescue teams "assess the area of recovery for the deceased victim."

To ensure the safety of rescue personnel, officials said the rescue effort was suspended for the night.

Back in May, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office put out a news release warning people to stay out of these ice caves.

“As we head into the busiest and warmest part of the season the cave is in its most dangerous state,” said Lead Field Ranger Matthew Riggen. “The cave is in a condition that we would normally not see until at least September – large, inviting and collapsing.”

In 2010, an 11-year-old girl was killed at the caves by falling ice.

Sara Soleimani shared this video (some graphic language) on YouTube of the ice caves on Sunday. The video shows part of the roof of the cave collapsing.

The caves north of Seattle are a popular hiking destination in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

According to the Washington Trails Association, the Big Four Ice Caves are located in the North Cascades near the Mountain Loop Highway (see map below). The caves highest point is 1938 feet. The trail to the caves is 2.2. miles roundtrip.

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