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Man and woman die, another man critical, as avalanche hits Cairngorms

Two people have died following an avalanche in the Highlands, police said tonight.

The Chalamain Gap, where the avalanche happened

Northern Constabulary said a man and a woman who were airlifted from the Chalamain Gap area of the Cairngorms to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary earlier today have since died.

Another man, who was flown to the same hospital, remained in a critical condition.

A rescue operation was launched shortly after 12.30pm involving police, Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, search and rescue dogs, RAF Lossiemouth's mountain rescue team and a helicopter.

One man was initially rescued and airlifted to Aberdeen, and shortly afterwards a further two people were found and taken to hospital.

Police said the rescue operation has been stood down.

A spokesman said: "Police can confirm that two people involved in the earlier avalanche at Cairngorm have sadly died.

"A man and a woman who were airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary earlier have been pronounced dead and a third person, male, is in a critical condition."

No further information will be given about those involved until their families have been informed, he said.

Today's avalanche is the latest in a series of incidents in the Scottish mountains in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, a hillwalker died during an expedition with a mountaineering club in the Cairngorms.

Graham Connell, 31, from Castleford, West Yorkshire, was found dead in the Jacob's Ladder area on Monday, following a large-scale search for him and five other people who were reported overdue on Sunday afternoon.

The other members in the party, who were unhurt, were picked up by an RAF rescue helicopter after being located by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team on a hill near Carn Tarsuinn.

The search, co-ordinated by Northern Constabulary and Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, involved more than 100 people.

The walkers were part of a larger group of 35 people visiting the Highlands.

In a separate incident earlier this month, three men survived falling 150 metres in an avalanche in the Coire an t-Sneachda area of the Cairngorms.

The men, who were wearing helmets, were airlifted to hospital with leg injuries.

The avalanche, on February 2, was the second in the region that day.

In January, four people were killed in an avalanche in Glencoe.

Hospital doctor Rachel Majumdar, 29; PhD student Tom Chesters, 28; Christopher Bell, 24, also a PhD student; and 25-year-old junior doctor Una Finnegan died after they were caught up in an avalanche on January 19.

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