Three of four members of a Swiss expedition swept away by an avalanche on Ben Nevis in Scotland have died. Among the fatalities is one Swiss citizen, aged 43.
According to Swiss media reports, all four experienced mountaineers lived in the western Swiss canton of Valais and were members of the same Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) section. Two French members of the team, aged 32 and 41 and who lived in Switzerland, were also killed during the incident.
The team had set off to Scotland on Sunday in order to scale Ben Nevis during a private trip. The sole survivor, also a Swiss citizen, is reported to be the president of the SAC section. He was taken to hospital in Glasgow.
The avalanche happened on Tuesday afternoon on Ben Nevis in the Grampian mountains in Scotland, the highest mountain in the UK.
A rescue operation put in place by authorities initially reported two injured and two dead, before a third succumbed to injuries.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her condolences: “my thoughts are very much with the bereaved and injured”, she said, regretting the “absolutely tragic news”.
Donald Peterson, deputy team leader of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the men were hit by a “massive” avalanche that fell 1,500 feet (457 metres) on top of them.
Though not staggeringly high, at 1,344 metres, accidents on Ben Nevis are not infrequent. Last December, a British climber fell to his death; on New Year’s Day a young German also fell fatally from a ridge.