Ex-Royal Marine dies in climbing accident in French Alps


A former Royal Marine who recently became engaged has been killed in a climbing accident in the French Alps.

Duncan Potts died on Wednesday as he climbed the Dent du Geant mountain in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix.

The 28-year-old was with friend Luke Stevens when a rock came loose in his hands and he fell around three metres, the Telegraph reported.

It hit him in the head and shoulders and despite a mountain rescue team reaching him after Mr Stevens managed to call for help, he died at the scene.

Rescuer Commandant Stephane Bozon told the newspaper the rock had been "as big as a car boot", saying: "It looks like he died instantly judging from the amount of blood at the scene."

The accident happened on Wednesday, the pair's first day of climbing after they left the UK on Tuesday for their four-day trip.

The Foreign Office said it was providing consular assistance to his family.

Mr Potts, from Coldridge in Devon, was an experienced rock climber and mountaineer, having previously undertaken Alpine expeditions including an ascent of the Matterhorn in Switzerland last summer.

He had recently left the Royal Marines and last month got engaged to equine vet April Lawson, who changed her Facebook profile picture to a photo of the two of them following his death.

Mr Potts' younger brother, Andy Potts, paid tribute to him on Facebook, saying: "It's really starting to hit home how much and widely he is going to be missed. I'm still struggling to come to terms with the fact that my big brother is no longer with us.

"Duncan had such an incredible group of friends and you all made his life so fun filled and special and I want to thank every one of you for being such an important part of his life."

His sister, Izzie Potts, wrote: "All our hearts are well and truly broken without you, Duncan."

Colonel Kevin Oliver, from the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines in Lympstone, Devon, paid tribute to him on behalf of the marines.

He said: "We are saddened to hear of the death of Duncan Potts, an ex member of the Royal Marines family and a mountain leader.

"We knew him as a fine young man who was a credit to the service, who left having achieved much in his career. The thoughts and sympathies of those that knew him go out to his family and friends."