Woman plunges to her death while hiking in North Cascades

Forbidden Peak (National Park Service photo)

NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK, Wash. - A woman plunged several hundred feet to her death over the weekend while hiking in the Forbidden Peak area of the North Cascades, officials said.

The tragic incident unfolded Saturday afternoon as the woman, identified as Susan Bennett, 61, of Bellingham, was hiking with a group of three other people.

The group was descending the West Ridge of Forbidden Peak after climbing to the summit when the accident happened, said North Cascades National Park spokeswoman Denise Schultz.

Park officials were notified of the accident by the Skagit County Sheriff's Office and a helicopter was called in from Mount Rainier National Park with a rescue team aboard. The victim was found in an approximately 30-foot deep crevasse in Forbidden Glacier with no signs of life.

Rugged terrain and weather conditions delayed attempts to remove her body, which will likely occur on Monday.

The rest of the climbing party safely descended and hiked out of the area.

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