Ben Nevis death: what happened as one man dies and 23 rescued from UK’s highest mountain

Emergency services were called to Ben Nevis, which is 4,400ft, with a large scale rescue operation launched

A large rescue operation was carried out after a number of people became stuck on Ben Nevis. A 28-year-old man died.A large rescue operation was carried out after a number of people became stuck on Ben Nevis. A 28-year-old man died.
A large rescue operation was carried out after a number of people became stuck on Ben Nevis. A 28-year-old man died.

A 28-year-old man has died after falling almost 1,000ft down Ben Nevis, with a major operation launched to rescue 23 others who had become stuck.

Two men, a 29-year-old and a 37-year-old, were taken to hospital with minor injuries after the rescue operation.

The man’s death brings the number of fatalities in the Scottish Highlands to three in a week.

What happened on Ben Nevis?

Emergency services were called to the 4,400ft mountain at about 2.15pm on Tuesday after reports of a number of people in difficulty. Police, Lochaber, and Glencoe Mountain Rescue Teams as well as Coastguard helicopters from Inverness and Prestwick were involved in the operation.

Sky News reports that a small number of soldiers from Edinburgh who were on Ben Nevis for adventure training went to the aid of those in trouble until emergency and mountain rescue teams arrived. The person who died was not a soldier and the soldiers, from multiple regiments, are now back at base.

The climber was descending the mountain after reaching the summit when he fell around 984ft at Red Burn on the west side.

The Daily Mail reports the climbers he was with, along with others from another group, thought to be the soldiers tried to rescue him but became stuck.

A Police Scotland spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, and a report would be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

What has been said about the incident?

The man’s death is the third in the Highlands since Saturday, a spokesman for the mountain rescue team said, with teams called out 12 times since the start of the weekend, with three fatalities.

In a post on social media, accompanied by pictures to a call out of a non-fatal incident, the mountain rescue team said: “The past 5 days has been especially busy for the team.

“Since Saturday we’ve had 12 callouts and recovered 26 casualties. Unfortunately 3 of these shouts resulted in fatalities and we’d like to extend our heart felt condolence to the friends and family of those involved at this difficult time.

“It would be remiss if we didn’t stress just how important it is to be adequately prepared for winter in the hills. Having the ability to competently navigate with map and compass as well as having and being able to use crampons and axe are vital skills to have if you’re venturing into the hills.”

What have police said?

Police Scotland has appealed to hill users and mountaineers to plan ahead and take extra care in the coming weeks.

Inspector Matt Smith, Police Scotland Mountain Rescue coordinator said, “The onset of spring has brought some more settled weather patterns and a welcome increase in daylight hours. We would urge those seeking to venture into the outdoors to take extra care. Challenging winter conditions still prevail in the hills with large areas totally covered in snow and ice.

“As with all outdoor activities, planning is key and a number of key partners produce resources and guidance to help keep you safe including the current #thinkWINTER campaign backed by Scottish Mountain Rescue and Mountaineering Scotland.

“It is vitally important to understand the risks of your activity, the experience of your group, the prevailing weather conditions during, and at your intended destination and that suitable equipment is carried to allow you to navigate safely over steep or icy terrain.

“Make a plan, don’t be afraid to adapt and make sure you think about what to do if things go wrong. The photo you’ve seen on social media is not always a true reflection of what you may find when you get there.”

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