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Tragedy Northern Irish man (28) dies climbing Ben Nevis mountain after falling 300 metres

The 28-year-old died after falling around 300 metres down an icy slope on the west of the mountain known as Red Burn


A 28-year-old man has died on Ben Nevis (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A 28-year-old man has died on Ben Nevis (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A 28-year-old man has died on Ben Nevis (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A man who died climbing on Ben Nevis on Tuesday is understood to be from Northern Ireland.

The 28-year-old died after falling around 300 metres down the 1,345m Scottish mountain, while 23 others had to be rescued in poor conditions during an eight-hour rescue operation.

He fell down an icy slope on the west of the mountain known as Red Burn. Two soldiers from an Army climbing group received minor injuries attempting to rescue him, however he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the death was not suspicious and a report would be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

An Army spokesperson said: “A small number of soldiers provided support to stranded walkers on Ben Nevis on Tuesday. They assisted the party until emergency and mountain rescue services were able to reach them.”

Some 23 people - including around 12 military personnel - were either airlifted off the mountain by search and rescue helicopters or accompanied off by foot by the almost 40 rescuers who responded to the incident.

The alarm was raised at around 2.15pm on Tuesday and members of Lochaber and Glencoe mountain rescue teams and a police mountain rescue team responded.

Donald Paterson of the Lochaber team said: "‘The conditions were classic Alpine conditions – spring-like in the glen but above the snow line everything is solid and an ice axe and crampons are essential and knowing how to use them.

"This chap had fallen, conservatively, about 300 metres. Then others went to help him and they, too, ended up in trouble. One had a broken ankle and another multiple abrasions. As the night wore on, the conditions got worse.

"We would like to express our condolences to the deceased’s family and friends.”

Brian Bathurst of the Glencoe mountain rescue team added: “The snow fields are glazed over with ice and are quite lethal. One slip and you will go a long way. The conditions last night were very difficult. As well as the ice, there were very strong winds and rain. The helicopters did an amazing job.”

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Police Scotland mountain rescue coordinator Matt Smith urged caution when hiking on the mountain.

"We would urge those seeking to venture into the outdoors to take extra care," he said.

"Challenging winter conditions still prevail in the hills with large areas totally covered in snow and ice.

"Often these areas are completely unavoidable and snow may be rock hard with a high likelihood of a fall unless crampons and an ice axe are carried and most importantly, the group has a knowledge in how and when to use them."

A total of six people have died in the Scottish mountains in the last two weeks, with mountain rescue teams experiencing an increase in call-outs recently.

Lochaber MRT said it had attended 12 call-outs and assisted 26 people since Saturday, with three of the incidents involving fatalities. "It would be remiss if we didn’t stress just how important it is to be adequately prepared for winter in the hills," the team said in a Facebook post.

Due to a spell of poor whether, the search for a missing walker in Glen Coe has been hampered. Neil Gillingham (43), from Kilmarnock, was last seen on near a summit on the mountain Bidean Nam Bian called Stob Coire Nam Beith at around 1.30pm on Sunday. Police said the search would resume once the weather conditions had improved.

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