South African Tessa Cousins, 56, was hit by rockfall dislodged by her climbing partner while the pair were on the third pitch of the classic climb Cioch Direct. She received fatal head injuries. Her partner fell with the rock and was also injured in the incident, as were a separate pair of climbers below. A third party narrowly escaped.
One of the second party suffered back and chest injuries, the other received fractures in the hand and shoulder but managed to walk off the hill to raise the alarm. The rescue operation lasted more than six hours, and involved over twenty members of the Skye Mountain Rescue Team with assistance from Coastguard and RAF helicopters. The three injured climbers were evacuated, first to the Dr MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford on Skye, and all three still remain in hospital.
This morning one of the injured climbers - a UKC user -posted an appeal for help on the forums:
Some may of heard of accident on Cioch Direct on Tuesday. I will warn anyone going up there that there is more lose rock. Wondered if anyone living in Glasgow could help me out. I am in Glasgow hospital. My camper is in Skye and my partner is in Inverness hospital. They cut my clothes off me at Broadford and I won't have any clothes when I am discharged and phone battery is nearly gone. If anyone could help with spare clothes or pop to asda shopping for me it would be great. Also if anyone has iPhone charger.
Carole Standing Surgical block ward 3 Southern General"
Several UKC users have offered to assist her.
The MCofS and Skye MRT advise:
There has been a significant rockfall from the third pitch of Cioch Direct, Sron na Ciche. Any climbers intending to attempt the route in the near future should be aware that there will be considerable rockfall danger from the remaining debris.