Highlands & Islands

Storm Georgina hampers search for man missing on Ben Nevis

Lochaber MRT image of conditions on Ben Nevis Image copyright Lochaber MRT
Image caption A Lochaber MRT image showing conditions on Ben Nevis on Sunday

Storm Georgina has continued to hamper efforts to find a hillwalker who fell close to the summit of Ben Nevis.

The man fell through a cornice, an overhanging ledge of snow, into Observatory Gully below on Sunday.

Rescuers were able reach two other men who were with him, but bad weather on the day and since has limited searches for the missing man.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team said it had "reluctantly" suspended its searches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Team leader John Stevenson said Inverness Coastguard helicopter, which was flown in challenging weather in Sunday's rescue operation, was "blown out" of the gully on Tuesday.

Winds have been forecast to gust to up to 90mph in the area on Wednesday.

Mr Stevenson also said the risk of avalanche on Ben Nevis was at the highest that it has been "in a long time".

He said: "Since Sunday the weather has steadily worsened.

"Visibility in gully is also an issue. It is so steep in there and while we know what is around us we still need to be able to see what is there.

"There is a hope of an improvement in the weather tomorrow and some of the team hope to go up and have a look, before an expected worsening of the weather again."

Earlier this week, the rescue team used its drone in an attempt to make a sweep of the search area.

The unmanned aerial vehicle was lost in the bad weather.

Sunday's rescue of the two other walkers was a seven hour-long operation involving 25 members of Lochaber MRT assisted by the coastguard helicopter.

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