Father of girl killed by falling ice frustrated by response time

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by TERESA YUAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TeresaYuan

KING5.com

Posted on August 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 2 at 1:20 PM

MARYSVILLE, Wash. – The father of an 11-year-old Lake Stevens girl killed by falling ice in Snohomish County Saturday is voicing his frustration over the speed of the emergency response.

Grace Tam was visiting the Big Four Ice Caves near Granite Falls with her family. Witnesses say Grace was sitting with her mother above the caves when a chunk the size of a two-car garage door landed on her.

Grace's father says he wants to thank the people who tried to save his daughter. But he also is frustrated that there was no cell phone reception in the area. He also wants to know why it took two hours before emergency responders arrived with medical equipment.

Grace was conscious for an hour after the ice block fell on her. She was talking to her family and cracking jokes.

"What makes it harder is there was a picture of her taken moments before with a beautiful smile. That's what makes it really hard. She was having a wonderful time being a host making new friends," said Joe Kutzke, Grace's pastor.

Kutzke is picking up her belongings from the coroner's office because it's too painful for her parents.

Grace was baptized just a couple of weeks ago after returning home from a family vacation.

The forest service says the remoteness of the location and fact the closest fire department is an all volunteer group, increases response times for rescuers. The forest service says it always reviews what changes can be made.

The forest service says the last time somebody died at the ice caves was 1998.

KING 5's Owen Lei and Kyle Moore contributed to this report.
 

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