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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 19:47 GMT
Climbers die after rescue effort
Cairngorm
The men had been climbing in the Northern Corries
Two climbers who were found after spending a night in "dreadful" conditions in the Cairngorms have died.

The men, aged 18 and 23, were a student from Aberdeen University and a recent graduate of the university.

They were taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness after being found by rescue teams on Monday morning.

It is suspected the pair, who have not been named by police, were caught out by extreme weather returning from Coire an t-Sneachda on Sunday.

Succumbed to weather

The climbers were found on the hillside about a mile from the Cairngorm Ski area car park, rescuers said.

It would have been a 20 minute walk from the spot to the car park on a good day, according to Cairngorm Mountain Rescue team leader John Allen.

He said the pair had managed to walk two or three miles out from the climbing area after abseiling down, and most probably succumbed to the weather.

There was evidence of an avalanche in the main Corrie, he said.

"They did very well to get where they were found, but were probably in a very poor condition by then," Mr Allen said.

"We believe that they got very much exhausted yesterday after their climb."

If you don't have any shelter from such winds, it is almost impossible for a human being to survive overnight
Michael Mulford
RAF spokesman

At one point 36 rescuers were out looking for the pair, Mr Allen added.

The RAF, whose crews flew the two men off the mountain, said they were found lying on the hillside without any shelter.

Wind speeds would have resulted in temperatures as low as minus 20C overnight, they said.

RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said: "They were found as if they were trying to make their way back down.

"We are being told there was evidence of an avalanche nearby.

"They were caught out in horrendous winds.

"If you don't have any shelter from such winds, it is almost impossible for a human being to survive overnight."

Raised the alarm

The two men had hitched a lift with eight friends from Aberdeen University climbing club - who were taking part in a safety course at Glenmore Lodge - to go climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda.

Northern Constabulary said the group had agreed to all meet up at the lodge later on Sunday.

When the pair failed to turn up by 1930 GMT the party became worried and raised the alarm.

Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team members began a ground search of the area assisted by an RAF Rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth.

However, worsening conditions forced the search to be called off until 0845 GMT on Monday.

RAF Sea King at Raigmore Hospital
The second climber is carefully taken off the helicopter

Rescue teams located the first man at about 1052 GMT and he was airlifted to hospital in Inverness.

The second was found an hour later, 400 yards away, by search dogs.

They were taken separately to hospital by a RAF Sea King helicopter.

A police spokesman said: "Sadly both men died following their arrival at hospital.

"Conditions on Cairngorm were appalling last night and conditions for rescuers today were not any better with driving wind and snow showers."

Sincere condolences

A report into the circumstances of the incident will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

A spokesman for the University of Aberdeen said: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic deaths of one of our students and one of our graduates.

"The university would like to express its most sincere condolences to the families of both men at this very sad and difficult time."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The men were flown to hospital by helicopter



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