Skier missing after avalanche near Glencoe Ski Centre

Mountain rescue volunteer Mountain rescue volunteers, pictured in training last month, practise for extreme conditions

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A skier is believed to be missing following an avalanche near the Glencoe Ski Centre in the west Highlands.

The emergency services were alerted to the incident in an "off-piste" skiing area in the Etive Glades at 13:05 GMT.

Northern Constabulary co-ordinated the search, involving members of Glencoe and Lochaber mountain rescue teams. It was called off as dark fell and will resume at first light on Sunday.

An RAF Lossiemouth helicopter helped in the rescue efforts.

Glencoe Mountain Resort said an experienced off-piste skier, skiing out with the ski area, had been caught in a major avalanche.

Its Facebook page said mountain rescue teams and Glencoe ski patrol had been on site since the incident.

John Grieve, leader of Glencoe Mountain Team, said the avalanche travelled about 1,000ft down the rocky face of the slope.

"The avalanche has actually gone into a gully, and in some places the snow is about 40ft deep," he said.

He said it was unlikely the skiier had survived in those circumstances.

There has been a number of serious incidents as a result of avalanches in Scotland this year.

In January four experienced climbers were killed in an avalanche on Bidean Nam Bianin Glencoe.

Three people also died after an avalanche in the Cairngorms In February.

Two of the climbers were off-duty members of the RAF Mountaineering Association. The third fatality was a student on a course at the Glenmore Lodge outdoor centre.

In the same week there was a second fatal avalanche involving a hillwalker.

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