Three climbers die following avalanche in the Cairngorms
Three climbers have died following an avalanche in the Cairngorms in the Scottish Highlands.
A man and a woman who were airlifted from the Chalamain Gap to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary died on Thursday, while another man who was flown to the same hospital died this morning (Friday).
A rescue operation involving police, the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, search and rescue dogs and RAF Lossiemouth's mountain rescue team and a helicopter was launched shortly after 12.30pm on Thursday.
The Chalamain Gap is a deep, rocky valley in the Cairngorms, on the route from the Cairngorm ski road to the Lairig Ghru.
David Rutledge, the training officer for Cairngorm Mountain Rescue team, helped control the operation from the team's base. He told the Daily Telegraph: "We had a helicopter here incredibly quickly. We had three doctors available straight away who were able to get to the scene.
"This was a fairly contained scenario. We were able to deal with an incident which was relatively close to the roadside, within 2km of the ski road and in a very contained area. From that perspective, no search was necessary. The key aspect to this was to get people there as quickly as possible."
Mr Rutledge said that, in total, two parties of six were involved in the incident, and those not taken to hospital were walked off the hill.
He added: "Snow conditions would have been affected massively by the weather we've had over the last few days, but significantly temperatures were increasing throughout the day and that will have had an effect on what was going on.
"Wind speeds were quite high this morning (Thursday) and all of those things have a contributing factor to the snow conditions."
According to the BBC, 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.
This is the latest in a series of avalanche incidents and fatalities in the Scottish Highlands in the past few weeks.
Earlier this week, a hillwalker died during an expedition with a mountaineering club in the Cairngorms.
Four climbers were killed in an avalanche in Glencoe on 19 January, while on 2 February, three men survived falling 150 metres in an avalanche in the Coire an t-Sneachda area of the Cairngorms.
Glencoe survivor tells how he cheated death with an ice axe
Avalanche rescuer tells of struggle to save British climbers