Three men survive avalanche fall

Three people were taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness by air after being caught up in an avalanche

Three people were taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness by air after being caught up in an avalanche

First published in National News © by

Three men have survived falling 150 metres in an avalanche in the Scottish mountains.

The incident happened shortly before 11.30am in the Coire an t-Sneachda area of the Cairngorms and the three men were airlifted to hospital with leg injuries.

They were all wearing helmets which helped them avoid life-threatening injuries, according to Cairngorms Mountain Rescue.

Training officer Al Gilmour said: "The avalanche involved three men who were carried about 150m over rocks but they were wearing helmets and, from accounts of the rescue personnel on the hill, that probably saved them and they got away with leg injuries, although one of them may have a particularly serious lower leg injury.

"I saw one of the helmets of one of the guys who was rescued and it's got quite deep scratches along the side. It was only the three men involved and at no point were they under the snow, they were pushed along on the surface."

It was the second avalanche in the region on Saturday with two people uninjured in the first which was reported around 11am. Recent weather in the Cairngorms had raised the avalanche risk to "considerable".

"Recently we've had a lot of wind and there's been a fair bit of fresh snow so there's been a bit blowing around," Mr Gilmour said. "The avalanche information service forecast a considerable risk of avalanche above 900m, pretty much from east through to south-west facing slopes and both of the avalanches today happened around east-facing areas at altitude."

Northern Constabulary were assisted by mountain rescue teams from Cairngorm, Killin and Strathclyde, who were training in the area. An RAF helicopter and Cairngorm Ski Patrol also responded to emergency calls.

The three mountaineers were taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. No one else was injured in the incident which comes just two weeks after four people were killed in an avalanche in the Highlands. One of the men suffered two broken ankles in the avalanche.

A spokesman for the RAF, who sent a rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth, said clear weather allowed the Sea King aircraft to reach the area safely.

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