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Climber dies after avalanche in Scottish Highlands

Published 17/02/2016

Rescuers were sent after an avalanche north of Lochaber
Rescuers were sent after an avalanche north of Lochaber
A casualty arrives by a search and rescue helicopter after an avalanche in the Creag Meagaidh area

A climber has died following an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands.

The man was one of two people rescued earlier from the Creag Meagaidh area of north Lochaber.

They were taken to hospital in Fort William where police said one of the men died from his injuries.

Inspector Donald Campbell said: "Police Scotland would like to thank all rescue personnel involved in today's rescue for the rapid response and determination displayed in very challenging conditions.

"Sadly, one man succumbed to his injuries and his climbing companion remains in hospital."

A coastguard helicopter, several mountain rescue teams and search and rescue dogs were all scrambled to the mountain range - around 19 miles north east of Ben Nevis - after being alerted to the avalanche at around 3.15pm.

The pair were flown from the area to Fort William where they were picked up by ambulances and taken to Belford Hospital.

Creag Meagaidh is a mountain on the north side of Glen Spean and is in an area known for ice climbing.

The local avalanche risk was described as "considerable" on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, efforts to locate experienced climbers Rachel Slater, 24, and Tim Newton, 27, on nearby Ben Nevis were suspended on Tuesday after five hours of searches due to treacherous weather conditions.

The pair, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, went climbing over the weekend and were reported overdue on Monday.

No foot searches took place on Wednesday because of the conditions but the search and rescue helicopter was deployed during breaks in the weather.

That helicopter later had to be diverted to assist following the avalanche at Creag Meagaidh, however.

A police statement said: "Police Scotland can confirm that sadly a man has died following an avalanche in the north Lochaber area earlier today.

"The man was climbing with one male companion, who remains in a serious condition in hospital.

"Sixty-seven mountain rescue personnel were involved in today's rescue from Lochaber, Cairngorm, Glencoe and Glenmore rescue teams in addition to police officers, a SARDA dog and the R951 helicopter."

Earlier, Police Scotland said a hillwalker rescued by search teams after being missing overnight with two others in Dumfries and Galloway died.

Bobby Thomson, 64, George Crosbie, 73, and Jeffrey Stewart, 74, had not been seen since they headed off in the hills around Durisdeer in the Southern Lowlands on Tuesday afternoon.

The men were found 2.5 miles east of the village on Wednesday following a large-scale search involving police and mountain rescue teams, and they were airlifted to hospital where one of the men was pronounced dead.

Police have not confirmed which of the men has died.

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