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Search Set For Man Buried In Ore. Ice Tunnel

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Mt. Hood (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)

Mt. Hood (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Rescuers were resuming a search Sunday for a snowboarder who was buried in a collapsing ice tunnel on Oregon’s Mount Hood.

The snowboarder was traveling with five companions when the collapse hit Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The other five were uninjured and called police. They also attempted to dig the man out, but were unable to break through thick snow and ice.

“They tried digging for an hour, but the problem is the stuff is so thick that they couldn’t get through it,” Hood River Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Pete Hughes said. “We’re getting chainsaws, if that’s any indication.”

Rescuers quickly responded but halted efforts after dark Saturday night, and said they will resume the search around dawn Sunday.

The man was trapped on the White River Glacier, which begins about 6,000 feet up the south side of the mountain.

“It trapped one person in the tunnel, (but) we’re not sure if he was the last one out or it just caught him,” Hughes said. “It sounds like there’s a significant amount of ice and snow that fell.”

An airplane was dispatched to survey the area, along with crews from local sheriff’s offices.

Seven rescuers, including five members of an all-volunteer group called the CragRats, were on the mountain on Saturday night.

Hughes said it will “take some doing” to reach the area where the snowboarder was buried. Companions took pictures of the area just before the tunnel collapsed, Hughes said, giving searchers a better idea of where to search.

Warm temperatures made snow on the mountain slushier and more easily sloughed off the surface, adding to the challenge of attempting to reach the snowboarder.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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