Update: Grace’s book has been published. Please read Grace’s Book.
An 11-year-old girl killed by a big chunk of falling ice was remembered by family and friends as a special, kind-hearted girl at a memorial service Sunday in Marysville. The girl, Grace Tam, died last Saturday at Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest when the ice tumbled down on her during a visit to the Big Four ice caves.
On Sunday, her classmates, parents, and friends said she was a beautiful, special girl during an emotional ceremony at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. One of her classmates said the tragic death was unfair, while another said she was a shining image of God – the perfect girl to have as a friend.
Grace her parents and younger brother, William, were on an outing to see the beauty of the ice caves when Grace was hit by a chunk of ice about half the size of an SUV. “I tumbled down and I lifted her up and asked her, ‘Grace, are you okay?’” her mother said. “And she look up at me and (was) already oh so pale.” Her parents and other people who were in the area performed CPR for more than an hour, but Grace died at the scene. The medical examiner ruled Monday she died from a crushed pelvis.
Signs at the site warn of the dangers of entering the caves, but officials and eyewitnesses at the scene said the family was not inside a cave, but was standing adjacent to them.
Grace’s parents said the fifth-grader earned straight A’s, loved her dog “Sugar” and was always adding to her scrap book. She trained in Kung Fu, and was due to earn her red belt this week. At Sunday’s memorial, she was presented with an honorary black belt – the highest level. Afterward, her parents sang “Amazing Grace.”
The U.S. Forest Service is considering putting up more signs at the ice caves, warning people to enjoy the caves, from a safe distance.
- By Shomari Stone, Komo News – Original Article
We want to do everything we can to ensure another tragedy like this never happens to anyone else. Accessing the Big Four Ice Caves is extremely easy and the crowds can lull you into a false sense of security. It is important to remember that even on the shortest, easiest hikes you are still in the wild, and at the mercy of nature.
Here is what we want to see happen:
- There isn’t adequate information and warnings for hikers, we’d like to see the warning signs improved.
- There should be a clearly marked area telling hikers where they should and shouldn’t go, keeping people out of dangerous areas.
- We would also like to see improved response times in the area if an accident ever happens again. It took over 2 hours for rescuers to arrive on site, and we would like this response time drastically cut.