Man dies and 23 others rescued from UK’s highest mountain

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After falling down for about 300 metres (1,000ft)on Ben Nevis, UK’S highest mountain, a man has died, and 23 others have been rescued in “ferocious” conditions during an eight-hour operation.

As the 28-year-old man fell down an icy slope at Red Burn on the west side of the mountain, members of an army climbing group tried to save him, and two soldiers received minor injuries during this and now requires hospital treatment.

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An Army spokesperson said, “A few soldiers provided support to stranded walkers on Ben Nevis on Tuesday, 8 March. They assisted the group until emergency and mountain rescue services could reach them to help.”

Twenty-three people, including about a total of 12 military personnel, either were airlifted off the 1,345-metre-high mountain by coastguard search and rescue choppers from Prestwick and Inverness or were walked off the hill by some 40 rescuers who went to their help.

The climber is the sixth person who has lost his life in the Scottish mountains in the last two weeks, according to the Police of Scotland, with the search for a missing hillwalker in Glencoe standing down on Wednesday, 9 March because of poor weather conditions.

Rescuers from Glencoe and Lochaber mountain rescue teams and a police team were sent to the hill after an alarm was raised around 2:15 on Tuesday, 8 March.

The deputy leader of the Lochaber team, Donald Paterson, said, “This fellow had fallen, conservatively, about 300 metres. Then others went to rescue him, and they, too, ended up in trouble. One had a damaged ankle and other multiple bruises. As the night wore on, the conditions got worse.”

“Members of the party could have been better trained for the conditions. We want to express our consolations to the deceased’s family and friends.”

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The deputy team leader of the Glencoe mountain rescue team, Brian Bathurst, said the circumstances were “ferocious”.

“The snowfields are glazed over with ice and are totally destructive. One slip and you will go a long way,” he said. “The conditions last night were difficult. As well as the ice, there were strong winds and rain. The choppers did an amazing job.”

The military group were believed to be from the Edinburgh area. It is not apparent whether the man who died was a member of their group or not.

Lochaber mountain rescue team said the past five days had been “hectic”, with 12 callouts and 26 deaths recovered.

“Unfortunately, three of these shouts resulted in fatalities, and we’d like to extend our sincere consolation to the friends and family of those affected at this difficult time.”

Insp Matt Smith, the Police Scotland mountain rescue coordinator, said, “The onset of spring has brought some more settled weather patterns and a welcome increase in daylight hours.

“We would urge those seeking to venture into the outdoors to take extra care. Challenging winter conditions still prevail in the hills, with large areas totally covered in snow and ice.”

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