A male hillwalker has died in the Cairngorms amid a major search operation.

Five walkers missing overnight have been found by a search and rescue helicopter, the RAF has confirmed.

But HeraldScotland understands the sixth member of the group has died.

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His five companions were uninjured and  airlifted by RAF Lossiemouth helicopter to Rothiemurchus near Aviemore.

They were discovered near Carn Tarsuinn by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team just after midday, but the dead man was recovered in the Jacob's Ladder area.

The walkers are all understood to be students in their 20s from the Leeds area, and are thought to be part of a  larger group of 35 people in the Highlands connected to Leeds University.

A major search operation involving 112 people from the police, RAF and mountain rescue teams was launched when the party of six men were reported overdue in the Cairngorms yesterday afternoon.

An RAF spokesman said five of the men were picked up by rescue helicopter 137, but one remains unaccounted for. He said the five rescued hillwalkers are uninjured.

As well as the helicopter, the RAF has three other teams from Lossiemouth and Leuchars working on the ground.

The search is being co-ordinated by Northern Constabulary and Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, with assistance from Braemar and Dundonnell mountain rescue teams and officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who are thought to have been in the area on a training exercise.

Further help is being given by mountain rescue team members from the Lake District and Ogwen Valley in Wales, as well as sniffer dogs.

Rescuers searching for the missing member of the party have recovered a body, police later confirmed.

The man's body was found in the Jacob's Ladder area of the Cairngorms, Northern Constabulary said.

His identity has not yet been revealed, although police said there are no other missing people in the area.

The man will not be named until his next of kin have been told.

Police said the five other hillwalkers were located on a hill near Carn Tarsuinn in the Cairngorms, by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team, at around 12.10pm today.

When contact was made with the group, it emerged that one person was still missing from the party of six.

The five walkers who are safe are said to be uninjured. They have been taken by helicopter to the Aviemore area.

They were part of a large group of 35 people who were visiting the Highlands, police said. They are either from, or connected to, Leeds University.

Police inquiries into the incident are continuing.

The death is the sixth fatality in the Scottish mountains this winter after four climbers were killed in the Glencoe avalanche and another died on Ben Nevis.