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Young Newtownards man who died in Ben Nevis accident named


Samuel Crawford, who died in a climbing accident on Ben Nevis.

Samuel Crawford, who died in a climbing accident on Ben Nevis.

Samuel Crawford, who died in a climbing accident on Ben Nevis.

A young Northern Ireland man who died in a tragic accident on Ben Nevis has been named.

Samuel Crawford is believed to have fallen to his death when a group of climbers got into difficulty on Tuesday.

Two others were injured after 23 people had to be helped off the mountain in a large-scale operation.

Mr Crawford (28) was from Newtownards in Co Down.

A death notice said he was the “much loved husband of Sophie and loving son of David and Shirley, brother of Rachel, Rebecca and Hannah, brother-in-law of David, Steven and Matthew”.

He was the “adored grandson of Lou and the late Jim Kennedy (and) a devoted uncle to Alana, Eloise, Arthur and Josiah.”

A service will take place in Sandown Road Free Presbyterian Church, Belfast, on Tuesday at 11am.

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His family requested that donations in lieu of flowers be sent to Friends of the Cancer Centre and/or Lochaber and Glencoe Mountain Rescue.

Mr Crawford died after falling around 300 metres down the 1,345m Scottish mountain, while 23 others had to be rescued in poor conditions during an eight-hour rescue operation.

He fell down an icy slope on the west of the mountain known as Red Burn. Two soldiers from an Army climbing group received minor injuries attempting to rescue him.

However he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the death was not suspicious and a report would be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

An Army spokesperson said: “A small number of soldiers provided support to stranded walkers on Ben Nevis on Tuesday. They assisted the party until emergency and mountain rescue services were able to reach them.”

Some 23 people - including around 12 military personnel - were either airlifted off the mountain by search and rescue helicopters or accompanied off by foot by the almost 40 rescuers who responded to the incident.

The alarm was raised at around 2.15pm on Tuesday and members of Lochaber and Glencoe mountain rescue teams and a police mountain rescue team responded.

Donald Paterson of the Lochaber team said: “‘The conditions were classic Alpine conditions – spring-like in the glen but above the snow line everything is solid and an ice axe and crampons are essential and knowing how to use them.

“This chap had fallen, conservatively, about 300 metres. Then others went to help him and they, too, ended up in trouble. One had a broken ankle and another multiple abrasions. As the night wore on, the conditions got worse.

“We would like to express our condolences to the deceased’s family and friends.”

Brian Bathurst of the Glencoe mountain rescue team added: “The snow fields are glazed over with ice and are quite lethal. One slip and you will go a long way. The conditions last night were very difficult. As well as the ice, there were very strong winds and rain. The helicopters did an amazing job.”

A total of six people have died in the Scottish mountains in the last two weeks, with mountain rescue teams experiencing an increase in call-outs recently.

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