Searches on Ben Nevis for Rachel Slater and Tim Newton have been suspended

Searches on Ben Nevis for Rachel Slater and Tim Newton have been suspended

Police have thanked members of the public for their ‘fantastic’ response to appeals for information on missing Ben Nevis climbers Rachel Slater and Tim Newton.

Officers said searches had to be called off on Tuesday afternoon because of weather conditions they described as treacherous.

Rescuers have been hunting for the missing couple since Monday without success. Two rescue team members were avalanched in a North Face gully earlier today.

Police Scotland said: “Searches of the Ben Nevis summit plateau, Gardyloo Gully and Smith’s Route were carried out yesterday by Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and HM Coastguard helicopter Rescue 951 [from Inverness] before being suspended at around 8.30pm.

“Searches concentrating on Carn Dearg, Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe and Coire Leis recommenced this morning with further assistance from RAF Mountain Rescue Team and Search and Rescue Dog Association Scotland but due to the increasingly challenging weather conditions, were halted at around midday today.”

Ms Slater, 24, and Mr Newton, 27, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, camped in a green tent immediately behind the CIC Hut under Ben Nevis’s North Face at the weekend, but concerns for their welfare were raised on Monday.

Police said they had recovered the tent. The spokesperson said: “A car belonging to Rachel Slater has also been recovered.

“The fantastic response to the previous appeal has been greatly appreciated and officers would continue to ask that, if anyone who was climbing or walking in the Ben Nevis area over the weekend and saw the couple, they are urged to contact Police Scotland on 101.”

Heavy snow showers are forecast tomorrow morning for the western Highlands, with the possibility of thunder and severe windchill. The avalanche risk for aspects from north-west to north-east will remain considerable above 800m.

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