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4 die in avalanche

20 January 2013, 09:48

Glasgow - An avalanche in the Scottish Highlands on Saturday killed four climbers and seriously injured one, while a sixth survived, police said.

The avalanche happened on Bidean nam Bian, a 1.150m peak by the west coast.

Following a major search operation involving two mountain rescue teams, the local Northern Constabulary police force said two men and two women were found and have since been pronounced dead.

One woman was found alive and is in a serious condition in a nearby hospital. The sixth member of the group, a male climber, raised the alarm and helped with the search.

It is thought they were descending when the slope they were on broke away.

Heavy snow

Britain has been hit by heavy snow, forcing many airports and airlines to cancel flights.

The deceased climbers were located with the use of a metal "probe", suggesting they were more than a metre under the snow.

"This is an appalling tragedy, and our immediate thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have been lost," said Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond.

"To lose four people from a party of six is truly devastating.

"The Scottish government will provide any support that we can and I would like to thank the police and mountain rescue team for their efforts in these difficult circumstances."

Reverend Moira Herkes will lead a prayer for those involved in the tragedy during her Sunday service at the nearby St Munda's Church.

"This is the worst accident to happen here for many years," she said.

"It is very distressing, because people come here for pleasure and when something like this happens it hurts everyone involved.

"This is a very beautiful place, but at times it can be very dangerous."



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