Two people are in a serious condition after the avalanche on Creag Meagaidh. Photo: Paul Birrell CC-BY-SA-2.0

Two people are in a serious condition after the avalanche on Creag Meagaidh. Photo: Paul Birrell CC-BY-SA-2.0

Two people are in a serious condition in hospital after being avalanched on a Highland mountain.

The pair were airlifted from Creag Meagaidh on Wednesday by the Inverness Coastguard rescue helicopter.

The aircraft was diverted from its search of Ben Nevis, 19 miles (31km) away where it had been helping in the search for missing climbers Rachel Slater and Tim Newton, who have still not been found.

A police spokesperson said: “At around 3.15pm this afternoon, Police Scotland received a report of an avalanche on Creag Meagaidh.

“Due to initial reports of casualties involved in the avalanche, HM Coastguard helicopter Rescue 951 was diverted from its search for two missing climbers in the Ben Nevis region.

“As a result of search efforts, including assistance from Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and Search and Rescue Dogs Association Scotland, two casualties have been rescued from the area and airlifted to Belford Hospital in Fort William.

“Searches in the area have now been concluded.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We received an emergency call to attend reports of an avalanche and have taken two patients to Belford Hospital.

“Both are in a serious condition.”

Ten days ago, a climber was airlifted to hospital after falling more than 1,000ft when he was caught in an avalanche on Creag Meagaidh. He was airlifted to Belford Hospital while his climbing companion was able to climb down the route in Staghorn Gully and walk, with help from rescuers, from the mountain.

On Monday, two members of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team were avalanched on the North Face of Ben Nevis during the search for the missing Bradford climbers Ms Slater and Mr Newton.

Avalanche risk for Creag Meagaidh today was considerable above 800m on north to east aspects, meaning a single person could set off a snow slide. Lochaber, including Ben Nevis, had a similar risk above 900m.

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