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Body of Mt. St. Helens climber who fell into crater is recovered

February 16, 2010 |  4:35 pm

The crater and rim of Mt. St. Helens is shown partially obscured by moving clouds and fog, Tuesday afternoon during the search for a climber who fell 1,500 feet into the dormant crater of the volcano Monday in Washington state.

The body of a climber who fell into the crater at Mt. St. Helens in Washington state has been recovered, reports the Oregonian.

Rescuers were holding out hope that Joseph Bohlig, 52, from Kelso, Wash., was still alive after the ledge of snow he was standing on gave way, sending him sliding about 1,500 feet into the crater Monday afternoon.

Overnight temperatures at the crater fell into the 20s, and dense fog and rain shrouded Mt. St. Helens this morning, hampering rescue efforts, said David Cox, Skamania County undersheriff.

Witnesses said Bohlig's body, which was discovered at 2:40 p.m. on a steep slope on the south crater wall, was nearly buried in the snow, and rescuers had to use shovels to uncover it before loading it into the Navy helicopter used for the rescue effort.

Scott Salkovics, who was climbing with Bohlig, told officials that Bohlig took off his backpack and a layer of clothing, then decided to pose for pictures near the rim of the crater. He was backing up when the snow gave way and he fell.

Salkovics watched in horror as Bohlig fell, frantically trying to grab on to something before he disappeared over the edge.

The body has been airlifted to Carson, Wash., where it will be transported to the Clark County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, Skamania County Sheriff's officials said.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: The crater and rim of Mt. St. Helens is shown partially obscured by moving clouds and fog Tuesday afternoon during the search for a climber who fell 1,500 feet into the dormant crater of the volcano Monday in Washington state. Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Related:

Rescue efforts to resume for climber who fell into Mt. St. Helens crater

Climber falls into Mt. St. Helens crater; rescue effort underway

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