Highlands & Islands

Helicopter search for couple missing on Ben Nevis

Tim Newton and Rachel Slater Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Mr Newton and Ms Slater were reported missing after failing to return from a climbing expedition on the UK's highest mountain

A coastguard helicopter with Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team members onboard has been involved in a fresh effort to find a couple missing on Ben Nevis.

Rachel Slater, 24, and Tim Newton, 27, failed to return from an outing on Ben Nevis at the weekend.

The risk of avalanches and bad weather had hampered efforts to make searches from the air and on the ground.

The helicopter made several sweeps of the mountain and surrounding area before its crew was stood down.

Ms Slater's parents have arrived in Scotland from Canada where she and her family moved to from the UK about 10 years ago.

In a joint statement, the families of Ms Slater and Mr Newton said: "We are extremely grateful to members of the emergency services and search and rescue personnel who are searching for Rachel and Tim.

"The overwhelming response from members of the public and the climbing community has greatly assisted the search effort and we appreciate all the support and words of encouragement.

"As a family we urge anyone who was in the Ben Nevis area last weekend and may have seen or spoken to Rachel and Tim at any time to get in touch."

'Remain hopeful'

The statement added: "We think Rachel was climbing in a turquoise jacket and purple helmet. Tim may have been wearing a red jacket, similar to the photo in circulation.

"As the search continues we remain hopeful Rachel and Tim will be found and reunited with their families and friends."

An avalanche on Creag Meagaidh in the western Highlands that resulted in a man's death saw a rescue helicopter diverted from the search for Ms Slater and Mr Newton on Wednesday.

Ms Slater and Mr Newton, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, were thought to have been camping near the Charles Inglis Clark memorial hut on the north side of Ben Nevis over the weekend.

The alarm was raised on Monday when they failed to return.

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