National

Feb 16, 2010 4:37 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Friend: Climber clawed edge of crater before fall

A friend of the climber who fell 1,500 feet into the dormant crater of Mount St. Helens says he saw his friend clawing to hang onto the edge before disappearing.

Scott Salkovics told KGW Tuesday that he and his friend, Joseph Bohlig, had reached the crater at Mount St. Helens after a 4-hour hike Monday and wanted to pose for pictures. Salkovics says Bohlig gave a camera to another hiker then took a step backward before the snow overhang gave way and Bohlig fell into the crater.

The hiker threw himself toward Bohlig, trying to catch him as he fell, but couldn't reach him.

Rescuers are struggling against bad weather to reach Bohlig. Observers in helicopters say he didn't appear to be moving.

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