One person is dead and five are injured after ice caves on Washington state's Big Four Mountain collapsed yesterday for the second day in a row. A hiker's body has yet to be recovered from the caves—formed in snow mounds that end up sliding down to the base of a cliff—because of the "fragile nature of the ice," a Snohomish County rep says. Two men, 25 and 35, and a woman, 35, were airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries, including leg and pelvis fractures, reports NBC News. A boy and girl were also admitted with minor injuries but have since been released, reports the Seattle Times. "There was a loud pop above us," Chloe Jakubowski says. "Once I saw the ice chunks falling, I ducked for cover and held my hands over my head." She says a woman standing next to her was knocked unconscious by falling ice.
"As soon as it stopped, I looked ... around me and it was extremely gruesome, honestly," says Jakubowski, 18. She didn't have cell service and had to drive 15 miles to a campsite to call for help. Rescuers say the call came in about 45 minutes after the collapse. "There was a large pile of ice and rock that came down," says the county rep. "In many ways, it was similar to an avalanche." A day earlier, a visitor to the caves, popular among hikers and only accessible by a narrow, 26-mile road, captured a partial collapse on video, but no one was injured in that case. Authorities have long considered the caves to be dangerous, particularly in warm weather—temps hit 80 degrees in the area yesterday—and signs warn of the risky conditions. They were installed after the last death at the caves, that of an 11-year-old girl hit by falling ice in 2010.