UK police say 3 killed in Scottish avalanche

January 24, 2009 1:12:52 PM PST
Three people hiking on a rugged Scottish mountain were killed in an avalanche Saturday, police said. The climbers were walking on Buchaille Etive Mhor, a popular destination for hikers in the Glencoe area of the Scottish Highlands, near Fort William, around noon when the snow crashed down on them. A fourth person hurt a shoulder and another five hikers were uninjured, said a statement from the Northern Constabulary, the local police department.

Police said they were alerted to the accident by another climber, who was standing above the avalanche. Rescuers took to the mountain to find the climbers in near-blizzard conditions.

Scotland's Avalanche Information Service had rated the avalanche risk in the area as "considerable." The area has had heavy snowfall over the past few days.

Inspector Pamela Ross told Sky News that police believed everyone who had been on the mountain was accounted for and that there are no reports of any other missing people. She said officers are trying to contact the climbers' next of kin.

The distinctive pyramid-shaped mountain, about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) north of London, is one of Scotland's most recognized peaks. It is about 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) high.

"It's a well known area for climbers, but it's not an area for inexperienced climbers," said David Campbell, the manager of the nearby Glencoe Ski Center.

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