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Fourth victim of Glen Coe tragedy is named

A second doctor has been named among the four climbers who died in an avalanche in Glen Coe, while a fifth remains critically ill in hospital.

KILLED: Rachel Majumdar, above, and her friends Christopher Bell, far left, Una Finnegan and Tom Chesters died in an avalanche in Glen Coe.
KILLED: Rachel Majumdar, above, and her friends Christopher Bell, far left, Una Finnegan and Tom Chesters died in an avalanche in Glen Coe.

Dr Rachel Majumdar, 29, who was originally from Merseyside, worked at Harrogate District Hospital in Yorkshire and had been in a long-term relationship with one of the other climbers who died, Tom Chesters.

She and four others were swept 1000ft down Bidean nam Bian, while one of their party – a man who has asked not to be identified – managed evade the snow slab.

The other survivor, a 24-year-old woman from the Durham area, suffered serious head injuries and remains in a critical condition in Glasgow's Southern General Hospital.

Ms Majumdar's work colleagues were shocked at the news of her death.

Dr Rebecca Leigh, a consultant at Harrogate District Hospital, said: "Rachel was a gifted and dedicated doctor, who was in the middle of her training. A very promising medical career has been cut tragically short.

"She was one of the finest doctors I have worked with. All the staff and patients who knew Rachel will remember her caring nature. She had a smile and a friendly word for everyone."

Christopher Bell, of Blackburn, Lancashire, Una Finnegan of County Londonderry, Northern Ireland and Mr Chesters, from Sidmouth in Devon, also died in Saturday's avalanche.

Sam Morris, 35, a friend of Mr Chesters and Mr Bell, said the former and Dr Majumdar had met in their first year of university in Leeds.

He said the only consolation in the tragedy was that the couple died side-by-side doing something they both loved.

"They had dreams of doing voluntary work oversees together. Some of the comfort we have drawn is that these guys had been together to the end," he added.

Mr Morris said his two friends were exceptionally competent and experienced mountaineers.

He added they had worked with him in France as mountain bike guides in the Alps.

"They were as trained up and as cautious as you can be," he said. "With the best will in the world, these things are a game of odds."

Mr Chesters, 28, who was described as a gifted student, was in the final year of his PhD at Hull University and was a leading figure in British orienteering.

Professor Michael Fagan, who helped supervise his research into osteoporosis, said: "Tom was a fantastic young man who seemed to have unlimited energy and enthusiasm. He was completely committed to everything he did."

Mr Bell, 24, had been entering his third year of doctoral research into ocean mapping at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) research centre at Dunstaffnage, north of Oban, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

A tribute was issued on the Facebook page of his father's decking business, Evabel. It read "We are so sad to let everyone know that Simon and Alison's son Chris was one of the people who were killed in the avalanche in Glen Coe yesterday.

"Chris was a wonderful son, friend and human being. Our thoughts and prayers are with Simon, Alison and Ed at this awful time."

A spokesman for SAMS said Mr Bell was a popular figure and added: "Chris was a lover of the outdoors – whether biking, running over the Scottish hills or chasing drifters around the Corryvreckan [the whirlpool between Jura and Scarba] for his studies. He was a liver of life."

Ms Finnegan, 25, a junior doctor in Edinburgh, was originally from Coleraine, where her father Dr Owen Finnegan was a consultant at the Causeway Hospital. She studied medicine at Newcastle University and took her masters in Anthropology of Health and Illness in Edinburgh.

David McClarty an Independent Member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly who knew the family, said: "This young woman, a qualified doctor, had her whole life ahead of her and then it is tragically cut short. The news has come with a great deal of shock to the area."

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