The avalanche occurred on Ben Nevis's North Face. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The avalanche occurred on Ben Nevis's North Face. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A third climber has died after an avalanche on Ben Nevis.

Police said the two people injured in the incident on the North Face on Tuesday had been recovered from the mountain, but one has died.

The other was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Two other climbers died at the scene in Number Five Gully earlier in the day. Their bodies have been taken to Fort William.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and colleagues from the Glencoe team were called out after the avalanche was reported shortly after 11.50am and the Coastguard helicopter flew to the scene.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Work remains ongoing to trace the next of kin of those involved and no further details are available until this has been done. However, we are following a positive line of enquiry in relation to their identity.”

Fort William Inspector Isla Campbell said: “This has been a challenging operation and I want to pass on my thanks to the mountain rescue teams, colleagues at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Scottish Ambulance Service for their assistance in extremely difficult conditions.

“I would also like to praise members of the public and staff from the Scottish Avalanche Information Service who were on scene at the time and provided immediate assistance.”

The avalanche risk in Lochaber, as determined by the SAIS, is high above 800m on northerly to eastern slopes, meaning natural avalanches can occur and a single person can trigger them. A similar level of risk, the highest usually encountered in Scotland, exists on mountains in Glen Coe.

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