Body of Person Who Fell Through Snow Bridge Recovered at Mount Rainier

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Rangers and Mountain Rescue volunteers on Wednesday recovered the body of an individual who fell through a snow bridge at Paradise on Tuesday. 

The individual, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of family, was found at the bottom of a steep drainage under 8 to 10 feet of snow. 

Rangers initially received the report of someone who had fallen through the snow from a hiking companion who called 911 at 4:22 p.m. 

Rangers responded with a team and swiftwater rescue gear and were able to tentatively spot an unresponsive person 60 feet downslope through a hole in the snow. 

The terrain was too steep and hazardous to safely conduct a recovery in the dark, according to a news release from Mount Rainier National Park.  

On Wednesday morning, 13 Mountain Rescue Association volunteers and three National Park Service rangers began digging a trench at the base of the slope. At 12:30 p.m. a ranger in a dry suit descended into the trench and recovered the body from the base of a waterfall fed by snowmelt under the snow. 

Volunteers from Central Washington, Everett, Olympia and Tacoma Mountain Rescue units assisted with the search and recovery. 

Water flowing underneath melting snow is one of the greatest dangers that hikers face in the Cascades Mountains this time of year,  according to a news release from Mount Rainier National Park. 

Water can carve and melt large voids, which may be partially or completely invisible from the surface. 

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