The six climbers were caught in an avalanche on Bidean nam Bian. Photo: Simon McElroy CC-BY-SA-2.0

The six climbers were caught in an avalanche on Bidean nam Bian. Photo: Simon McElroy CC-BY-SA-2.0

A woman who was caught in the avalanche on a Glencoe mountain is in a critical condition in hospital.

Four fellow climbers died in the incident on Central Gully on Bidean nam Bian.

The 24-year-old, from the Durham area, has been transferred from Belford Hospital in Fort William to the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

Police said her family is with her.

Northern Constabulary also said next of kin of the two men and two women who died in the avalanche have been informed. One man who was climbing with the group survived unharmed.

Superintendent Philip MacRae said: “Our thoughts are with the families and all those who are affected by this tragic incident.

“Members of the climbing party were from different parts of the UK and a priority for us has been to trace and inform all next of kin. They have now been informed and we have family liaison officers in place.

“I would like to express my thanks to the members of the Glencoe and Lochaber Mountain Rescue teams who assisted with the emergency phase of this incident.

“I am grateful for their expertise and rapid response.”

The head of the umbrella body for mountain rescue teams in Scotland revealed that avalanche experts who were leading a course a few miles away on Aonach Mòr took part in the rescue.

Jonathan Hart, chairman of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland said: “This was a tragic event and I speak on behalf of all the mountain rescue team members involved when I say our hearts go out to the casualties and the families of all those involved.

“People come from all over the UK and the world to experience and enjoy the mountain scenery and sports in this part of Scotland.

“Mountain rescue teams train for these kind of incidents and indeed there was a national Scottish mountain rescue course on this weekend on avalanche rescue, taking place in the Nevis range.

“The Glencoe and Lochaber Mountain Rescue team members and instructors on the course attended the rescue which was coordinated by police and led on the scene by Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team who were assisted by Search and Rescue Dogs.

A Royal Navy Sea King helicopter airlifted rescuers to the rescue site and flew the injured climber to hospital

A Royal Navy Sea King helicopter airlifted rescuers to the rescue site and flew the injured climber to hospital

“We are grateful to Royal Navy Rescue 177 [from HMS Gannet in Ayrshire] who transferred rescue team members from the valley floor to the locus of the avalanche. This enabled a very rapid response to the incident in terms of locating all the casualties.

“Everything possible was done, as part of an outstanding multi-agency response, to increase the opportunities for survival of the casualties and take them off the mountain before the hours of darkness.

“It is very sad that there has been such a tragic outcome.”

Police have not yet revealed the names of the climbers who perished in the avalanche.

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