Woman falls into volcano vent on Oregon's Mount Hood: 'I was terrified'

She was skiing with her husband when she fell into the snow-covered fumarole.

December 7, 2020, 2:07 PM

A woman who fell into the vent of a volcano while skiing described how she was able to survive the potentially life-threatening accident.

Portland resident Caroline Sundbaum, 35, was skiing with her husband Friday on Oregon's Mount Hood, an active volcano, when she plunged into a snow-covered fumarole -- a vent in the side of a volcano that emits steam and gases, similar to a geyser.

"The sensation was like someone pulling a chair out from underneath you," she said on "Good Morning America" Monday.

PHOTO: Caroline Sundbaum speaks to Good Morning America about her rescue from Mount Hood.
Caroline Sundbaum speaks to Good Morning America about her rescue from Mount Hood.
Good Morning America

A quick-thinking bystander who saw Sundbaum fall rushed to help, she said. Equipped with a rope, the good Samaritan secured himself to it and hoisted her out of the hole.

"I was terrified -- very concerned that the snow was gonna fall on me and suffocate me," Sundbaum said of waiting to be rescued.

PHOTO: Snowy Mount Hood in the Cascade Mountains of northern Oregon.
Snowy Mount Hood in the Cascade Mountains of northern Oregon.
Universal Image via Getty Images, FILE

A frequent skier, Sundbaum had water and was wearing traction devices on her feet as well as a helmet.

Fumaroles are difficult to track and can show up unexpectedly, according to experts. While they are especially tough to spot when underneath snow, they can give off a smell similar to rotten eggs.

Sundbaum is fortunate she was pulled out quickly, because the air inside fumaroles can be toxic, according to local authorities.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events