A 52-year-old woman has died after a massive rescue operation on a Highland mountain yesterday.
Rescuers were called to search 3,143-foot Buachaille Etive Beag – located between Glen Coe and Glen Etive, on the edge of Rannoch Moor – yesterday morning after a mother and daughter were reported injured in separate incidents.
The daughter, aged 23, is believed to have taken ill early in the morning and her mother, when going to get her help, is understood to have then then slipped and fallen.
Walkers on the hillside alerted police to the younger woman shortly before 10am.
She was reported to have been found dazed, confused and very cold.
The second women, understood to be the mother, was not discovered until mid afternoon, between 2-3pm.
The two women were airlifted off the mountain in separate rescue operations. The daughter was last night recovering in hospital and her condition is described as stable.
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The mother is understood to have fallen into a small hollow by the side of the mountain path while going to raise the alarm after the incident involving her daughter.
She was hidden from view until a search and rescue helicopter pilot saw her and alerted the 25-strong rescue team on the ground.
Police, the Scottish Ambulance Service and Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team (GMRT) were assisted by staff and students from the Joint Service Mountain Training Centre in a four-hour search for the older women.
Andy Nelson, from GMRT, said the younger woman was found to be very cold, with reduced consciousness.
He added: “The hillwalkers who came across the first woman said she was mumbling something about her mum, but she was not making much sense at the time. She was airlifted.
“Because there was information that another women was missing on the hillside we started to look for her. At first we didn’t know if there was anyone, or if it was her sister or her mother. It was detection and guess work. It turned out to be the woman’s mother, who did not have the same name as her daughter.
“We were joined by the Joint Services Mountain Rescue training who were on the hill and helped us search a wider area. We are grateful for their help.
“Between 2-3pm the helicopter pilot from the Inverness Search and Rescue 951 helicopter spotted the other woman, and we were able to rescue her from where she was hidden in a small hollow beside the main path.
“It is not entirely clear what has happened. At least one appears to have suffered a medical episode and one a slip. The visibility was good and they were well below the snow line. They were both well-equipped.
“We would like to thank everyone who helped with the rescue.”
Both women are believed to be from the Midlands, but knew the area well and were well equipped. Both casualties were taken to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.
Sergeant Ross McCartney from Police Scotland said: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragic incident.
“We are currently carrying out enquiries to establish the full circumstances. These enquiries are currently at an early stage.
“I would like to thank Glencoe MRT and HM Coastguard for their invaluable assistance with this challenging incident.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We received a call at 10.15am on Monday to attend a patient at the Three Sisters Car Park, Glen Coe and dispatched an ambulance to the scene.”