Ben Nevis death: Young student dies after falling ‘down 500ft vertical drop’

A student has died after a "horrific" 500ft fall from Ben Nevis – the UK’s highest mountain.

The woman is the second university student to die on the 4,411ft high peak in two weeks after Patrick Boothroyd, 21, fell from the mountain before Christmas.

The female student was enjoying a New Year’s Day climb with three others when she fell at around 3,300ft along the Ridge Route on the mountain’s Carn Dearg.

John Stevenson, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said: "The rocks are very icy at the moment and where she slipped there was an almost vertical drop of 500ft.

"It is hard to say but she would have stood little or no chance. It is a very rocky drop too. She would have gone straight down.

"It would have been a horrific fall to happen where it did.

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"The conditions are icy and very cold at the moment. She was with a group of four university students from down south.

"The other three – I think two men and a woman – were stuck on the route and were clearly very shocked."

A coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Inverness airlifted members of the mountain rescue team to recover the woman’s body.

It also managed to extract the other climbers off Ben Nevis.

"The helicopter did a magnificent job. The cloud cleared enough to allow it to get in – but it was a difficult job," said Mr Stevenson.

"We witnessed another example of exceptional flying getting the team into location to evacuate the casualty and in recovering her colleagues from a very difficult location.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with the young woman’s family and friends. It is very sad start to 2019."

The woman is the first to die on Scotland’s mountains this year. The tragedy comes only two weeks after the death of another young climber on Ben Nevis.

Cardiff University students Patrick Boothroyd and Leo Grabowski were scaling Tower Gully on the 4,413ft peak on December 16 when a ledge of snow collapsed, causing them to fall 1,00ft.

Mr Boothroyd, 21, suffered a serious head injury while Mr Grabowski survived the fall with only broken bones.

Despite being dazed and disoriented, the 28-year-old immediately rang 999 and did his best to help his friend.

He covered him with a survival bag and huddled next to him, shielding him from the snow and wind. They were rescued after an hour but Mr Boothroyd could not be saved.

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