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UK News Desk

Man, 21, dies after falling more than 1,600ft while climbing Ben Nevis 

Man in his 20s miraculously SURVIVES falling more than 1,600ft from UK’s highest mountain with ‘a few cracked ribs’ in plunge that killed his climbing partner

  • The two students from Cardiff University were scaling Tower Gully on Ben Nevis
  • An overhanging ledge of snow collapsed and caused them to fall around 1,640ft
  • Miraculously a man in his 20s survived the fall with only a few cracked ribs 
  • But his 21-year-old friend died in hospital after suffering a serious head injury 
  • Do you know the men involved in the tragedy? Email martin.robinson@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.com 

A student has survived a 1,600ft fall down Ben Nevis with just a few cracked ribs – but his friend died in the same plunge, it was revealed today.

The men, in their twenties from Cardiff University, were scaling Tower Gully on the 4,413ft high Scottish peak when the accident happened.

An overhanging ledge of snow collapsed, sending them tumbling down Ben Nevis’ Tower Scoop and into the mountain’s Observatory Gully.

The survivor, who suffered broken bones, raised the alarm to mountain rescue and the friends were airlifted to hospital where the unnamed 21-year-old man died.  

A man in his 20s miraculously walked away from falling more than 1,600ft from Britain's highest mountain with just a few cracked ribs- but his friend died in the same plunge

A man in his 20s miraculously walked away from falling more than 1,600ft from Britain’s highest mountain with just a few cracked ribs- but his friend died in the same plunge

Donald Paterson, deputy leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said: ‘The snow was soft and had no real purchase so it started moving. 

‘It just collapsed on them. The snow was not enough to bury them but large enough to carry them down the mountain. They must have fallen 500 metres (1,640ft).

‘One walks away with a few cracked ribs and the other sadly loses his life.’  

Around 30 members of Lochaber MRT were sent after the alarm was raised at 2.25pm on Sunday, but Mr Paterson and a fellow rescuer reached the pair before the Inverness-based Coastguard search and rescue helicopter airlifted them to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.

The survivor’s condition is unknown, but Police Scotland said he had ‘non-life threatening injuries.’ 

‘They were both sat in the snow when we found them. The one chap had suffered a very serious head injury. His climbing partner had raised the alarm by mobile phone,’ said Mr Paterson.

‘CPR was administered in the helicopter to the badly injured lad, but sadly he could not be saved. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends over this tragic loss of a young life.’

Sergeant Michael Bell of Police Scotland said: ‘Our thoughts are with the man’s friends and family at this very sad time.

‘There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.

‘I would take the opportunity to thank the crew of the HM Coastguard helicopter and Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team for their assistance with this incident.’

Around 30 members of Lochaber MRT were sent after the alarm was raised at 2..25pm on Sunday. File picture shows Ben Nevis 

Around 30 members of Lochaber MRT were sent after the alarm was raised at 2..25pm on Sunday. File picture shows Ben Nevis 

The dead man’s next of kin have been aware of the tragedy.

It was the third mountain death in the Highlands within four weeks.

Last month a mother died in a mountain tragedy in the Highlands.

Rebekah Pettifer, 52, was from Northamptonshire area in England.

Her 23-year-old daughter – who has not been named – was seriously hurt after their hike turned to tragedy on November 26, the second fatality on the same peak in five days.

Rescuers were called to search 3,143ft Buachaille Etive Beag – between Glen Coe and Glen Etive – after the mother and daughter were reported injured in separate incidents.

The two students had been scaling Tower Gully on the 4,413ft high Ben Nevis when an overhanging ledge of snow collapsed and knocked them down the mountain (file picture)

The two students had been scaling Tower Gully on the 4,413ft high Ben Nevis when an overhanging ledge of snow collapsed and knocked them down the mountain (file picture)

The daughter is thought to have taken ill early in the morning and Ms Pettifer – who was also known as Caroline – while going to fetch help, is understood to have slipped and fallen.

Walkers on the hillside alerted police to the younger woman shortly after 9..30am.

She was reportedly found dazed, confused and very cold.

The second woman was found about 200 yards away.

Police Scotland said that are no suspicious circumstances relating to Ms Pettifer’s death and a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal, as is standard practice.

Ms Pettifer is understood to have fallen into a small hollow by the side of the mountain path.

She was only spotted by a search and rescue helicopter pilot who alerted the 25-strong rescue team on the ground.

Both women are believed have previously lived in nearby Kinlochleven.

It was the fourth call-out in a week for Glencoe MRT, including to a man who fell to his death on the same mountain five days earlier.

Police have not released details of that fatality at his family’s request.

Buachaille Etive Beag forms a ridge nearly two miles in length in length and has two peaks of Munro status mountains over 300 feet – Stob Dubh and Stob Coire Raineach. 

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