Scotland: 2 Climbers die & 1 critically injured after Cairngorms avalanche – 140213 1920z

A number of people have been caught up in an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands and three are “possibly unaccounted for”, Northern Constabulary said.

The avalanche was reported shortly after 12.30pm in the Chalamain Gap area of the Cairngorms.

Police were being assisted by members of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, search and rescue dogs, RAF Lossiemouth’s mountain rescue team and a helicopter.

A force spokesman said: “Police can confirm a number of people were caught up in the avalanche. There are possibly three people unaccounted for. Searches are continuing in the area.”

Thursday, 14 February, 2013 at 14:58 (02:58 PM) UTC RSOE

Update:

SWTS.news.image.e

Climber dies after Cairngorms avalanche

Cairngorm Ski Centre. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/ TSPLCairngorm Ski Centre. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/ TSPL

By ALISTAIR MUNRO
Published on Thursday 14 February 2013 18:02

A climber has died and two others are fighting for their lives after being struck by an avalanche and swept down a steep, rocky mountainside in the Cairngorms.

* Avalanche happened shortly after 12.30pm in Chalamain Gap area

* Two climbers remain critical in hospital

A major rescue operation was launched in the Chalamain Gap area of the mountain range, four-and-a-half miles south-east of Aviemore, when alarm was raised just after 12.30pm.

Two parties of six had been on the hill when latest tragic avalanche on Scotland’s peaks was triggered, sweeping a man and woman from one group and a man from the other pack down the valley.

Over 50 mountain rescuers were involved in the search. They located one casualty buried under the snow within two hours, and then found the remaining pair shortly afterwards.

They were all flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

A spokesman for NHS Grampian said last night: “Following an incident in the Cairngorms, NHS Grampian can confirm we have two casualties at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, both in a critical condition.”

The third climber died of their injuries

A source from the emergency services said: “We believe they were all alive when discovered, but were in a bad way.

They were all flown to ARI, which specialises in head trauma, but it wasn’t looking good.

Although there were two parties in the area, we believe only three people were actually avalanched.

The rest were able to walk off the hill.”

Inspector Murdoch MacLeod of Northern Constabulary said: “It was another bad day on the hills.”

At about 12.30pm we received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting an avalanche.

“It was two parties of six and the three casualties were buried by snow and debris. We were lucky to have two rescue helicopter in the area and deployed a quick search.

“The weather at the time was not too bad, with sunshine.”

A spokesman for Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team said: “There were two parties of six. The alarm was raised by people on the ground and we went to find three casualties

It was a fast-action response.

The first person was found at about 2.20pm, and the others were found just before 3pm.

It was not a big avalanche in terms of distance, but big in the amount of snow involved in a confined area.”

Previous incidents

The incident was the latest avalanche to strike in the Scottish mountains, with five lives already being claimed this year.

The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) had issued forecasts for Thursday warning of a period of avalanche activity overnight in the Cairngorms and a considerable hazard throughout the day.

The Chalamain Gap is a deep, rocky valley in the Cairngorms, on the route from the Cairngorm ski road to the Lairig Ghru.

Officers from Northern Constabulary were alerted just after 12.30pm.

They were assisted by members of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, sniffer dogs from the Search and Rescue Dogs Association, RAF Lossiemouth mountain rescue team and two rescue helicopters from the RAF base.

One of the helicopters took the RAF team to the scene along with a search dog. RAF Leeming, who were training in the area, was also involved in the search.

Earlier this week a man died and five of his friends were rescued after they were caught in atrocious weather conditions in the Cairngorms.

Graham Connell, 31, was part of a group of six Leeds University students who failed to return after a climbing trip on Sunday. It was understood that he had been injured in a fall.

The five other students were rescued on Monday at around 12.10pm on a hill near Carn Tarsuinn in the Cairngorms by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team.

Shortly afterwards Mr Connell’s body was recovered in the Jacob’s Ladder area of the Cairngorms. Northern Constabulary said he was originally from the Castleford area of Yorkshire.

Last month four climbers were killed when they were swept 1,000ft down a steep rock edge in Glencoe.

Rachel Majunder, 29, a doctor from Leeds, student Tom Chesters, 28, also from Leeds, Chris Bell, 24, a student in Oban, and Una Finnegan, 25, a doctor based in Edinburgh, were all killed.

A week later, another climber died while climbing Ben Nevis.

Ben St Joseph, from Essex, was climbing Tower Ridge, a notorious rocky area to the north-west of the summit plateau.

He was roughly 2,800 feet up the 4,409 mountain when he plummeted hundreds of feet down a gully.

On the same weekend, three climbers survived another avalanche in the Cairngorms.

14 Feb 2013 1920z Update:

Cairngorms avalanche: Man and woman die and one critical in hospital

Rescue helicopter The RAF helicopter airlifted three people from the Chalamain Gap area of the Cairngorms

A man and a woman have died and a man has been critically injured after being caught in an avalanche in the Highlands of Scotland.

All three casualties were airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, with one being pronounced dead on arrival.

Northern Constabulary said the alert was raised shortly after 12:30 in the Chalamain Gap area of the Cairngorms.

Police, mountain rescue teams, search and rescue dogs and an RAF helicopter were all involved in the search.

It is understood the three climbers involved were buried in the snow when rescuers found them.

Casualty lands at ARI Casualties were flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

A police spokesman said no further information would be issued until formal identification had taken place and next of kin had been informed.

The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) had issued forecasts for Thursday warning of a period of avalanche activity overnight in the Cairngorms and a considerable hazard throughout the day.

The Chalamain Gap is a deep, rocky valley in the Cairngorms, on the route from the Cairngorm ski road to the Lairig Ghru.

Nine other climbers in the party were unhurt and walked off the mountain.

‘Tragic event’

This is the latest in a series of avalanche incidents in the Scottish Highlands in the past few weeks.

Four experienced climbers were killed in an avalanche in Glencoe on 19 January. Two of their party survived, with one suffering serious injuries.

That incident was described as a “tragic event” by the chairman of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland Jonathan Hart.

Two climbers escaped unhurt after being caught in a snow slide in Coire an Lochain, also in the Cairngorms, on the same weekend.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) said there were 52 fatalities on Scotland’s mountains in 2011. Of those, 21 were climbing related. The year before, there were 45 fatalities in total, with 16 of those mountaineering related.

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