A CLIMBER from Leeds has been killed in an avalanche which swept three others to their deaths in the Scottish Highlands.
Tom Chesters, 28, a PhD student at Hull University who lived in Leeds, Una Rachel Finnegan, 25, a junior doctor from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and Christopher William Bell, 24, also a PhD student, from Blackpool, were killed while walking near Glencoe on Saturday.
Rescuers say the group fell around 1,000 feet and ended up buried under up to two metres of snow in the tragedy on Bidean Nam Bian.
A second woman was also killed in the accident.
Her next of kin have asked for her name to be withheld until her extended family have been informed.
A 24-year-old woman from the Durham area remains in critical condition in hospital.
Another man survived the incident using his ice axe. He has asked for his name to be withheld.
Andy Nelson, deputy head of Glencoe Mountain Rescue, said: “Being in an avalanche is literally like standing on a carpet and having it pulled out from underneath you.
“Any thoughts of trying to swim out from out of it is futile.
“You are on steep ground, essentially standing on a raft of snow that is sliding downhill at speeds of maybe 40mph to 50mph.
“It would have unfolded in a split second, they would have felt the snow moving and then they would have been travelling at a speed that was impossible to stop.
“They slid over some very rocky ground and ended up about 1,000 feet below, under between 1.5 and two metres of snow.
“It’s a brutal experience. There are enormous forces at work and you are being twisted about at high speed.”
It is believed the party were descending from a peak on the south side of the valley when the snow-covered slope they were crossing broke away.