Three Avalanche Victims Are Named

Three Avalanche Victims Are Named

Two Phd students and a junior doctor were among four people killed in an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands, police have said.

Una Rachel Finnegan, 25, from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Christopher William Bell, 24, from Blackpool, Lancashire, and Tom Chesters, 28, who was living in Leeds, were killed while walking near Glencoe on Saturday, Northern Constabulary confirmed.

Ms Finnegan was a junior doctor who had been living in Edinburgh, Mr Bell was studying for a Phd in ocean mapping in Oban and Mr Chesters was a Phd student at Hull University.

A second woman was also killed in the accident, although 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 avalanche, but has asked for his name to be withheld.

The party of six were walking on the Bidean Nam Bian mountain

It is believed they were climbing down a peak when the snow-covered slope they were crossing gave way.

Five people in total were engulfed in a wall of ice and snow and sent hundreds of feet down the mountain.

A major search operation involving mountain rescue teams and police dogs was launched and the four bodies were found under the snow.

Prayers have been said for the dead climbers at a private service at St Munda's Church in nearby Ballachulish.

The alarm was initially raised by two other climbers not in the stricken party after they found one of the victims lying in the snow.

The sole male survivor then contacted police to say more people were missing.

Rev Moira Herkes told the congregation: "We include in our prayers thoughts for the deceased in yesterday's tragic accident on the mountain and their families.

"Somehow life must continue. We accept the challenges of nature as part of our living."

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This is an appalling tragedy and our immediate thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have been lost.

"To lose four people from a party of six is truly devastating."

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