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4 Scouts in serious condition after Mount Baker rescue

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Two Boy Scouts and two troop leaders were hospitalized in serious condition and undergoing treatment for hypothermia Monday after spending a night inside a cave high up Mount Baker in Washington state, officials said.

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office said the four sought shelter in the cave on the 10,781-foot peak after they became separated from other members of their troop.

Mount Baker is about 15 miles from the Canadian border and is part of the Cascade Mountain range.

The snow-capped peak can be a challenging climb. All summit routes feature glaciers.

The 13-year-old boys and two adults were airlifted to a hospital and were being treated for hypothermia, the station said. Authorities did not identify them.

A man, a woman and two boys were in serious condition Monday afternoon at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in the city of Bellingham near the peak, spokeswoman Hilary Andrade told The Associated Press.

She said they will be transferred soon to another facility but declined to say where, citing patient privacy issues.

The successful search for and rescue of these hikers is an example of the relationships and coordination that exists in our community between the Sheriff’s Office, SAR Volunteers, Customs and Border Protection (Border Patrol and CBP Air and Marine) and the United States Navy," said Sheriff Bill Elfo. "These resources stand ready to assist when and where the need exists in order to save lives.”

The four had been reported missing Sunday and a search was started that afternoon.

Sheriff's Deputy Mark Jilk, who helps manage search and rescue operations, told the Herald earlier Monday that two adults and two 13-year-old boys were using a popular route on the peak's north face.