Coire an Lochain, scene of the rescue. Photo: Richard Webb CC-BY-SA-2.0

Coire an Lochain, scene of the rescue. Photo: Richard Webb CC-BY-SA-2.0

Rescuers have praised the crew of a helicopter for their part in an incident in which a climber died in the Cairngorms.

Willie Anderson of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team said the Inverness Coastguard aircraft was operating in difficult conditions of cloud and mist high on the Northern Corries.

He said: “There was some very impressive flying by the helicopter crew. They managed to get it into a very tight position for winching and got the gentleman on board.”

The rescue team was called out about 10.30am on Wednesday and was joined by members of the Glenmore Lodge team in the operation after the man, who was leading a 200ft climb on the Severe-grade Procrastination route in Coire an Lochain.

The men, both from England, were roped while tackling the second pitch of the rock-climbing route on Number Four Buttress more than 3,000ft up on the north-facing crags below Cairn Lochan.

Mr Anderson said: “It’s quite an enclosed space. The helicopter crew got there first and retrieved the climber, who had come to rest on his rope, but he had sustained injuries.”

The man was flown to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, but died a short time later.

The second climber, who was not injured, was helped out of the crags by rescue team members and airlifted from the site.

Mr Anderson said there was a second incidence of superb flying by the Bristow crew of the Coastguard helicopter in poor visibility on Friday when the team was called out to help a walker in the Lairig Ghru, the high mountain pass close to the scene of Wednesday’s incident.

The 64-year-old man suffered a suspected broken ankle in a slip. About 20 Cairngorm and Glenmore Lodge team members went to the walker’s aid. He was stretchered by the rescuers to the Coastguard helicopter which had landed below the cloud base. The walker was then airlifted to Raigmore Hospital.

The incident was the latest in a flurry of callouts for the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team recently. The team has been called four times already this month, and dealt with five in May. Throughout the whole of 2015, the volunteer rescuers had 35 callouts.

Cairngorm MRT has aided a range of outdoor casualties, including walkers, climbers, mountain bikers and airsports participants.

The identity of the climber who died on Wednesday has not yet been released.

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