Black ice caused two fire engines to crash near Inverness
Black ice caused two fire engines to come off a road near Inverness and crash into a field, an investigation into the accident has concluded.
The two Inverness fire crews were responding to a 999 call about a road accident when their vehicles skidded on the B9006 on 6 February.
Of nine firefighters who were injured, five were taken to hospital.
Investigators have recommended there be a review of training for driving during icy conditions.
They have also recommended that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) make arrangements for the gathering and sharing of information on weather that could affect driving conditions.
The accident happened on the B9006 Inverness to Nairn road at about 07:15 while the two crews were going to the aid of two people trapped in wreckage following a road accident.
The first appliance to hit the black ice skidded 180 degrees on the road before it struck a raised grass verge and rotated 360 degrees and landed on its side in the field.
The driver of the second vehicle slowed down, but lost control after passing the point where the first appliance had skidded.
The second fire engine also came off the road and ended up on its side the same field.
However, the crew managed to alert the crew of a third fire service vehicle and it was stopped safely and remained on the road.
Three of those involved in the crash were not wearing seat belts, according to the SFRS investigation.
Lewis Ramasay, assistant chief officer at SFRS, said: "The investigation established that the immediate cause of the crash was the two vehicles skidding on black ice.
"As a result, we are reviewing arrangements for gathering information on road conditions and how these may present specific route risks, in order to ensure that our crews are advised accordingly.
"We are also reviewing training in relation to driving in inclement weather and driver familiarisation with specific vehicles, although the investigation did not find this to be a contributory factor in the crash."
The senior officer added: "The role of a firefighter is one that is often dangerous and our job is to ensure that the risks associated with firefighting and responding to emergency calls are managed effectively.
"This starts from the minute a call is received and appliances are dispatched; our report recognises this and, as a result, we fully intend to use its findings to protect our crews, the public and any other road users.
"This incident is a powerful reminder of the risks faced by frontline crews and it shows how even highly experienced emergency response drivers in state-of-the-art vehicles can be affected by inclement road and weather conditions."