SKAMANIA, Wash. A 50-year-old man fell into the crater of Mount St. Helens about 1 p.m. on Monday, according to Skamania County Sheriff's Office.

The man was about 5 feet from the edge of a cornice, near the crater's edge, when it gave way and he fell in, Skamania Undersheriff David Cox told KGW.

The climber was accompanied by another person but that climber was safe. Another climbing group witnessed the fall and was able to call 9-1-1.

Clatsop County Sheriff's Office in Oregon received the 9-1-1 call and forwarded it on to Skamania County authorities.

It was a very poor connection and the reporting party said a climber had fallen into the crater ... then the call was dropped, Cox said.

A US Geological Survey helicopter had located the climber on a 45-degree snow slope near the bottom of the crater. He was blowing an emergency whistle so rescuers could maintain his general location. Cox said turbulent winds made it difficult to pinpoint the man's exact location.

Deputies could not say how far he fell.

Rescuers from North Country EMS Volcano Rescue Team were dispatched to Marble Mountain Snow Park area. The climber's medical condition was not known, Cox said.

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