Avalanches kill two walkers in the Highlands

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The Independent Online

Avalanches in the Scottish mountains have been blamed for killing two men and injuring two others in separate incidents, prompting police to warn climbers and hill walkers to be aware of the dangers.

Avalanches in the Scottish mountains have been blamed for killing two men and injuring two others in separate incidents, prompting police to warn climbers and hill walkers to be aware of the dangers.

A search for two men who had gone walking at Winter Corrie, Glen Doll, Angus, on Sunday ended with the discovery of two dead bodies yesterday. Tayside Police said that Dennis Curran, 36, and John Cox, 38, both from Dundee, were experienced and well equipped for the conditions.

Their bodies, which were roped together, were found at the bottom of a gully in a manner that suggested they had been overwhelmed by snow, police said. "It appears both men plunged down the gully in a manner which was consistent with them having been hit by an avalanche," a police spokeswoman said.

The force's mountain rescue team began searching for the men shortly before midnight Sunday, but had to abandon the search in deteriorating conditions. A full-scale search, involving a civilian mountain rescue service and a team from RAF Kinloss, was launched the next morning after a night of poor weather with high winds, light snow and driving sleet.

Earlier, a father and son were injured in a separate avalanche in the Scottish mountains. Snow swept Peter Clark, 46, and his son, also Peter, 28, for 90 metres (100 yards) down a coire. The elder Clark's brother, Andrew, avoided being caught in the slide.

The pair, from Nottingham, had been walking at the top of Coire Na Tulaich, Buachaille Etive Mor, Lochaber, near Fort William, when the avalanche hit. A mountain guide raised the alarm after hearing the crack of the avalanche, which happened at midday Sunday.

The Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team and a helicopter from HMS Gannet found the men soon afterwards and they were airlifted to Belford Hospital, Fort William. The father broke his ankle while his son escaped with minor injuries. They were detained overnight but the younger man was later discharged.

The leader of the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team, John Grieve, said the rescue took just an hour from call-out to getting the casualties airlifted from the mountain. "Conditions for walking were excellent and no one could have blamed these people for being out on the hills," he said. "They were well-equipped and appeared to be experienced walkers. What caught the party out was that there had been up to two to three inches of new snowfall on top of frost, which is not the best combination.

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