A MAN has died after he was hit by a car driven by a learner who lost control during a lesson and skidded off a rural north-east road.
The pedestrian – believed to be a local farm worker – died at the scene of the tragic accident, which happened on the A93 at Bridge of Gairn, near Ballater, around 10.30am.
It is understood the 36-year-old lived and worked at an estate nearby.
Police confirmed the driver of the car involved, a grey Skoda Fabia, was a “supervised” learner, who had been on a lesson to the west of the Aberdeenshire town.
Last night, a local councillor who passed the scene just minutes after the accident happened said she knew the driving instructor, and described him as a “competent and very experienced professional”.
“This accident will affect everyone in the Upper Deeside,” she added.
The accident happened as snow flurries swept the region and temperatures plunged to as low as -4C.
Elsewhere on the A93, a stretch of the road from Braemar to the Spittal of Glenshee was closed as snow and ice caused treacherous conditions for motorists, while the A939 was blocked off from Ballater to Tomintoul.
The A93 was closed for about four hours around the accident scene as collision investigators pieced together what had happened.
The Skoda turned onto its roof as it left the road, landing several feet down a snowy, grassy embankment at the side of the road.
A fence post was ripped from the ground where it left the A93 and pieces of the car were scattered across a blanket of snow.
Officers said it was too early to early to tell whether road conditions had played any part in the accident.
A police spokesman said: “The driver lost control and struck a nearby 36-year-old male pedestrian.
“Regrettably the injured man sustained fatal injuries as a result and died at scene.”
“An investigation into all the circumstances around this collision is underway and we would encourage anyone who may have witnessed the incident to come forward.”
The car belonged to Dee Valley Driving School, of Braemar.
A spokesman for the firm declined to comment last night.
Nearby resident Margaret Davidson, 71, said she knew the dead man and her sympathies were with all involved.
“There’s nothing to be said, it’s so sad,” she said.
“He was a very nice guy.”
Councillor for the area, Geva Blackett, passed the scene of the accident just moments after it happened.
She said firefighters asked her leave the area slowly as they feared for the state of the road.
“They asked me to move on, which I did, and to drive at walking speed,” she said.
“The road was extremely icy and conditions were bad.
“It was also extremely busy with drivers heading to the ski centre.”
Councillor Blackett, who represents Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, said she knew the driving instructor who had taken the learner driver out that day, and could not begin to comprehend what the pair must be feeling.
“Young people need to learn what to do in snowy conditions – there’s no point in not preparing them for it,” she said.
“He would have had winter tyres on and taken every possible precaution. It is too early to tell what happened.
“I know him and he is a very competent, very experienced and professional instructor.”
She said the tragic accident would impact everyone in the area.
“My heart goes out to the poor man and his family, it is an absolutely tragic, terrible accident,” she said.
Elswehere, the B976 Crathie to Gairnshiel road was closed from its junction at the A93 to the A939 because of drifting snow.
Police warned drivers across the entire Grampian area to watch out for snow and ice on the roads as temperatures plunged below freezing.