6-year-old boy found dead near Big Four Ice Caves
The body of a 6-year-old boy was recovered from the area around the Big Four Ice Caves in Verlot on Sunday evening.
Search crews with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said they were looking for a child who was reported missing around 6 p.m. Sunday. He was last seen on the trails around the cave area.
A few hours later, the boy’s body was recovered from the Stillaguamish River. Officials say he likely drowned.
His body was found about one mile downstream from the trail’s footbridge. The boy’s family told police they had been in the area of the footbridge prior to the child’s disappearance.
Forest rangers say with the weather warming up and more hikers hitting the trails, an exercise in precaution is key.
“I think people underestimating the conditions and we have a number of trails that are relatively close in like Lake 22, or say, Mt. Pilchuck, and there’s snow on them. We have route finding issues, traction issues,” said Matt Riggen with the U.S. Forest Service.
Currently, there are no ice caves at the site, which melt or collapse every year before re-forming, but officials say falling rocks and ice are a potential hazard year-round as well as winter and spring avalanches.
The road to the Big Four Ice Caves, the Mountain Loop Scenic Byway, reopened Friday, nearly a year after an ice cave collapse that killed a woman and her brother.
SCSO SAR personnel w/helo searching for missing 6yoa male last seen around trails near Big Four Ice Caves
— Snohomish Sheriff (@SnoCoSheriff) May 2, 2016
Since then, the Forest Service has installed additional safety signs advising of the dangers of the ice caves and reminding visitors to stay on the designated trail.
Three people have died in ice cave collapses over the past five years.