Mountain rescue teams recovered the body of a missing hillwalker in the Cairngorms today after five companions, who had also gone missing in “hellish” conditions on the mountains, were located and airlifted to safety.
A major rescue operation had been mounted for all six, all in their twenties and members of Leeds University Hiking Club, after they failed to return to base on Sunday evening and the alarm was raised.
More than 100 rescuers, including police and mountain rescue team members equipped with sniffer dogs, plus a helicopter from RAF Leuchars, were involved in the search effort.
Rescue spokesman Donnie Williamson said during the search yesterday: “Weather conditions are hellish. We can’t see our knees. The access road is blocked and as soon as it is cleared, it all blows back in again so we are having difficulty getting our vehicles up the hill.
“Our boys are having to walk in front of the vehicles so they can safely negotiate the road. We struggle all night to get up on to the hill and only managed it by 6am.”
The missing hillwalkers were found just after noon on a summit near Carn Tarsuinn by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team, and shortly afterwards the body of the sixth, missing man was recovered in the Jacob's Ladder area. No details of the dead walker were being released until next of kin had been informed, police said.
The five survivors, who were unhurt, were flown off the mountain by helicopter, landed at Rothiemurchus near Aviemore and driven away in an ambulance.
The group had set off from Leeds on Friday, with some of the members planning to return on Sunday evening, with the others scheduled to have an extra day's winter hiking on Monday. The alert was raised on Sunday after one of the party became separated, and was rescued by the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.