Climber falls in Mount St. Helens crater

February 15, 2010 6:08:09 PM PST
A climber has fallen into the crater at Mount St. Helens and a rescue effort is under way. Skamania County sheriff's officials say a 911 cell phone call was received early Monday afternoon.

Undersheriff Dave Cox says a helicopter that does contract work for the U.S. Geological Survey spotted the climber on a steep slope near the bottom of the crater but was unable to pick him up because of high winds and whiteout conditions.

Cox says a Coast Guard rescue helicopter has been called, but it's uncertain if the climber can be rescued before dark. A ground rescue team is being organized.

The sheriff's office says the climber's condition is unknown but he's blowing a rescue whistle.