VERLOT, Wash. -- One question lingers in the back of Renee Navlet s mind.
I don t understand in a place that has danger like that, why there is no phone that goes to the ranger department, said Navlet.
Navlet says this after it took nearly 90 minutes for emergency crews to respond to an 11-year-old girl, who was struck and killed by a giant slab offalling ice at the ice cavesnear Verlot Saturday afternoon.
The 11-year-old was with her family when the accident occurred outside the Big Four Ice Caves.Renee Navlet jumped to help the injured girl and provided first aid while medics scrambled to reach the remote area. Without any cell phone coverage for miles, those rushing to call 9-1-1 had to travel a long distance before reaching rescuers.
On Saturday, Navletwas picnicking with her family by the ice caves when all of the sudden, she heard a loud noise.
We heard the cracking. We said, Oh my God. It's going to come down. We started screaming, Get out of there! Get out of there! recalled Navlet.
Navlet is still shaken after watching a chunk of ice the size ofher two-car garage door land on the 11-year-old girl who was sitting on a boulder with her mom above the ice caves.
It came down, hit her, she wentflying off and I yelled, Is she okay? Is she okay? said Navlet. And I got the response that she was not, so I yelled down to toward the big caves, We need 911!
With no cell service for miles, two strangers ran down the mile-long trail and eventually flagged down a sheriff s deputy for help. Navlet s boyfriend carried the girl to a safe place while Navlet and others splinted her leg and tried to keep the young girl calm.
She kept saying she couldn't feel her legs and she wanted to move and she wanted a drink, said Navlet. Then she said, I want to go to sleep and that is when we lost her pulse and she stopped breathing.
CPR-trained Navlet and two E.R. nurses spent more nearly90 minutesstruggling to keep the 11-year-old alive with CPR. Navlet says more than 90 minutes after the accident, medics arrived and eventually pronounced her dead.
This rescuer wants an emergency phone line or additional protections to prevent another death
For such a dangerous area, so open to the public, there has to be a place to call for help, said a frustrated Navlet, who is still shaken by the tragedy.
We don t want another tragic accident to occur, says Peter Forbes, District Ranger for Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.
Without cell phone coverage and telephone lines, Forbes said an emergency phone is not realistic. Headded the Forest Service does not want to fence the property because it would tamper with the natural beauty.
Along the trail, there are clearly posted signs warning hikers of the dangers of falling ice and the hazards of the ice caves.
Forbes said volunteers are usually stationed outside the caves and they have radios to link them with the nearby ranger station.
There is still some personal responsibility for their own safety, said Forbes. He says 50,000 people a year visit the caves without incident. He encourages hikers to read the signs and do be safe when recreating in the forest.
After her experience, Navlet said she will not go back to the ice caves
We never could have foreseen the day ended the way the day ended, said Navlet. We took pictures on the way up. I don't know if I will ever look at them.
The forest servicesays 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.