Crystal Beach ice caves to be destroyed
Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 5:42 PM -
The ice caves at Crystal Beach, Ont., on the shores of Lake Erie enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame as a pop-up tourist attraction, but authorities are pulling the plug amid growing safety concerns.
On Monday, the caves were evacuated after cracks started forming under visitors' feet.
There have been several slips and falls, including one that caused a broken hip.
Officials plan to demolish the naturally-occurring caves as temperatures are set to rise this week.
"We’re making plans to get heavy equipment out there before the end of the week to have it all knocked down," Fort Erie fire chief Larry Coplen told local media.
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The decision was made Tuesday morning, following an inspection.
"The caves are collapsing so we’re telling people to stay away," Coplen said.
The caverns formed as the result of a cold start to winter, which contributed to ice build up along Lake Erie.
"Then we had a powerful storm with winds gusting to 80 to 100 km/h that broke up the ice and piled it up along the shoreline," explains Weather Network meteorologist Doug Gillham.
"At that time, temperatures were well below freezing and a lot of those chunks froze into place. As the storm subsided, the water levels dropped, leaving large piles of ice exposed."