Highlands & Islands

Cairngorms pair praised for saving hypothermic walker's life

Ben Macdui Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The couple realised the man was in trouble as they were returning from an ascent of Ben Macdui

Mountain rescuers have praised two young mountaineers who saved the life of a hypothermic walker.

The couple realised the man, who was walking alone, was in difficulty about two kilometres from the summit of Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms.

Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team said the pair had "virtually carried him" for two or three kilometres.

Mountain rescuers were then flown in by helicopter to help and the casualty was given medical treatment.

Willie Anderson, the leader of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, said the couple noticed the man was "really struggling" after they had reached the summit of the 1,309m (4,296ft) Ben Macdui and had started their descent.

"By the time they got just a couple of kilometres from the summit, he was staggering and falling so they gave him an assisted walk," he told BBC Scotland.

"They realised right away he was hypothermic. His trousers were wet - he hadn't put his leggings on - and his jacket was wet.

"They virtually carried him two or three kilometres until they got a signal and once they got a signal they phoned the rescue team."

'Heroes of the day'

Low cloud meant the Coastguard rescue helicopter could not reach the exact location of the casualty.

Members of the rescue team were dropped nearby and walked the rest of the way. They then spent an hour warming the man up on the mountain before taking him back down to the rescue team base near Aviemore.

Mr Anderson said the couple were "true Samaritans" and "heroes of the day".

"There's absolutely no doubt that young couple saved the man's life," he added.

"He realised that had they not been there he would have been on the plateau and he would have succumbed.

"He was really cold, really wet, he had no food and at that stage his decision-making was - like all folks who get hypothermic - very, very poor."

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