Two climbers have died and two have been injured in an avalanche on Ben Nevis, U.K.’s highest mountain at 1,345 metres. The avalanche took place in Number 5 Gully.
The Lochaber and Glencoe mountain rescue team responded and a coastguard helicopter was sent from Inverness to assist. One of the two rescued climbers is thought to be seriously injured. The Scottish Ambulance Service said it sent three ambulances, an air ambulance and a trauma team, while military personnel on exercises nearby also helped.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, tweeted: “This is absolutely tragic news. My thoughts are very much with the bereaved and injured. And my gratitude as always for the work of our emergency services, mountain rescue and coastguard.”
The deaths are the latest in a series of fatalities in the Scottish mountains. A German climber was killed on New Year’s Day after falling about 150 metres from a ridge. In December, Patrick Boothroyd, 21, from West Yorkshire was killed after a snow ledge collapsed on Tower Gully.
In February, one of the UK’s most revered winter climbers, Andy Nisbet, was killed on Ben Hope with his climbing partner Steve Perry. The Scottish Avalanche Information Service issues a warning for the Ben Nevis area on Monday.
Heather Morning, a mountain safety adviser with Mountaineering Scotland, said: “It’s absolutely tragic that two more people have lost their lives on Scotland’s mountains and our condolences are with their families and friends.
“We had a very unseasonably mild February – that’s why we put out a warning that winter was coming back, because some people were in summer mode. But these latest tragedies reinforce our message to do your homework before setting out to enjoy the hills. To put it in context, hundreds of thousands of people enjoy Scotland’s mountains each winter and only a tiny minority end up in trouble.”