Three killed by avalanche in Scotland

Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

ABERDEEN, Scotland, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Two of the three climbers killed in a Scottish avalanche were members of the Royal Air Force, the Ministry of Defense said Friday.

Two men and a woman were buried by the snow Thursday when the avalanche rolled down a Highlands mountainside, The Scotsman reported. They were airlifted to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where two were pronounced dead.

The second man died in the hospital, the Northern Constabulary said Friday morning. Nine others from the group were able to walk out on their own.

The disaster occurred in the Chalamain Gap, a rugged ravine in the Cairngorms near Aviemore. Two RAF helicopters and police and mountain rescue workers accompanied by dogs were involved in the search for the climbers.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond extended his condolences to the families of those who died.

"This is another stark and tragic reminder of the dangers on our mountains," he said. "They are one of the most beautiful places on earth but they can also be inherently dangerous with treacherous and changeable conditions."

Six people have died in previous similar incidents in the Scottish Highlands this year. Four people were killed by a Jan. 19 avalanche in Glencoe, a climber suffered a fatal fall on Ben Nevis a week later and a man leading a group of Leeds University students died this week during a storm in the Cairngorms.

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