Four Dead in Glen Coe Avalanche

© Dan Bailey

A party of six has been caught in an avalanche in Glen Coe this afternoon, with the loss of four lives.

Bidean nam Bian in winter  © Dan Bailey
Bidean nam Bian in winter
© Dan Bailey

The group of three men and three women were avalanched on  Bidean nam Bian at around 14:00 today. SAIS reports that they were descending from Bidean's west top to Stob Coire nam Beith when they triggered the avalanche, which carried five of the party to below Church Door Buttress.

According to Northern Constabulary volunteers from Glen Coe Mountain Rescue Team, assisted by Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team members and a search and rescue dog from SARDA Scotland, have now located all the members of the party, following a search for casualties.

Police have confirmed that four people, two men and two women, have been pronounced dead.

One other male member of the party raised the alarm and stayed to assist the searches at the scene. Meanwhile one woman remains in a serious condition at Belford Hospital in Fort William.

Update, Sunday 20/01/13:

Three of the four deceased have now been named. They are: Christopher William Bell, 24, a student from Blackpool; Una Rachel Finnegan, 25, a junior doctor from Co.Antrim; and Tom Chesters, 28, a student at Hull University. The family of the fourth victim has requested that her name be held back for now.

The injured woman, a 24-year-old from the Durham area, remains in a critical condition with head injuries.

The surviving male member of the group has released a short statement through the police:

'All in the group loved the mountains and are experienced winter walkers.'

'Can I ask that members of the deceaseds' families and I are left to grieve in privacy at this difficult time.'

'My sincere thanks goes to the members of the public, mountain rescue teams and other emergency services who assisted.'

Update, Monday 21/01/13:

The fourth victim has now been named by police as Dr Rachel Majumdar, 29, a doctor at Harrogate District Hospital.

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19 Jan, 2013
// Central Valley? Haven't heard of it?
19 Jan, 2013
Just texted my brother to make sure he isn't involved... courage and strength to the rescuers, and I sincerely hope the victims all make it off the hill.
19 Jan, 2013
Could they mean Central Gully? Grade I/II on Church Door Buttress.
19 Jan, 2013
updated on bbc link above
19 Jan, 2013
Saw some of the rescue from the summit of SCNL, watched them stretcher someone down to HMS Gannet, foul conditions in terms of vis though mercifully the winds nowhere near as bad as yesterday. Best of luck to all involved, keeping my fingers crossed.
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