Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 13:26 UK

Bomber propeller 'saved' climber

Lancaster bomber propellers
The Lancaster that crashed had been on a training flight

A climber's fall during an avalanche was broken by a propeller from a crashed Lancaster bomber, a mountain information boss has revealed.

The fall came on the first day of the most recent season of sportscotland's Avalanche Information Service (SAIS).

Its Co-ordinator Mark Diggins said the climber, who was badly injured, got into difficulty in Fuselage Gully on Beinn Eighe in Torridon in December.

The area is the site of a fatal training flight crash in 1951.

All eight on board died when the aircraft from RAF Kinloss in Moray hit Triple Buttress on Beinn Eighe on 14 March, 58 years ago.

Difficulties in recovering the bodies over several months led to the formation of RAF Mountain Rescue.

Most serious

Most of the wrecked Lancaster was understood to have been destroyed in a later controlled explosion, but sections of wing and its Rolls Royce Merlin engines remain. A small brass plaque on part of the wreckage recalls the accident.

December's avalanche in Fuselage Gully involved a second climber who was able to dig himself out of the snow.

His friend was sent hurtling down the mountainside with a slab of snow before hitting the propeller.

The incident was one of 112 avalanches recorded by the SAIS this winter.

In January, three people lost their lives in one of Scotland's most serious avalanche incidents, which happened on Buachaille Etive Mor at Glencoe.

Brothers John Murphy, 63, from Portrush and Eamonn Murphy, 61, from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, along with Brian Murray, 46, of Monifieth in Angus, died.

The three killed were members of the An Teallach Mountaineering Club and among nine people caught by the avalanche.

In February, SAIS assessments of conditions in the five Scottish mountain areas it covers were made available by text.

Previously, its daily reports have only been available over the internet.

The service covers North Cairngorms, South Cairngorms, Lochaber, Glencoe and Creag Meagaidh.

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