SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. (AP) An ice cave collapsed on two teenage boys Thursday, trapping them for hours until rescuers with chain saws managed to cut through large chunks of compact snow and ice to free them.
The Seattle teens, 17-year-old Alec Corbett and 14-year-old Allesandro Gelmini, were both suffering from hypothermia, King County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart said.
Gelmini, rescued first, also suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, Urquhart said. Corbett's injuries were being evaluated Thursday evening.
A Navy helicopter was called to fly the boys to a hospital in Seattle.
"It was very difficult to get them out, and to get them out alive," Urquhart said.
The teens were hiking with their mothers and their sisters when they were trapped underneath the ice for more than five hours.
Corbett's mother, Joni, told reporters she was ecstatic to learn that both had survived.
"I still haven't heard about my son's condition but the other boy is doing good," Joni Corbett said.
Her husband, Brian, said his emotions have gone "from the lowest I've ever been to now, it's just great."
The accident happened near the Cascade Mountains pass, about 50 miles east of Seattle.
Several other hikers who had been nearby described the area where the boys were trapped as a canyon that had filled with snow. A small creek, or cascade of melted snow, had carved out a cave, with a roof of compacted ice.
Matthew Miller, a 15-year-old boy who had been hiking with a youth group, rushed with others to help after the ice collapsed.
"It was just a deafening crash," Miller said. "It really got your attention."
He said one of the mothers told them the two boys had found an ice cave and were posing for a picture about five yards inside its mouth when the ice above them crumbled.