Ben Nevis avalanche survivor's tribute to friends

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Mathieu Biselx and his friendsImage source, Mathieu Biselx
Image caption,
Mathieu Biselx, second from right, with his friends who he has paid tribute to

A climber has paid tribute to his three friends who died following an avalanche in Ben Nevis on Tuesday.

Mathieu Biselx, 30, from Switzerland, was the sole survivor of the slide in Number 5 Gully on the mountain, near Fort William.

Two Frenchmen and a climber from Switzerland died.

In a post on social media, Mr Biselx, who was injured, said: "Raph, Cédric and Adrien. Thank you for your friendship."

He thanked his friends for their inspiration and said that he and others were "all here" for the men's families.

Mr Biselx ended his tribute to his friends with: "I will carry you in my heart forever."

Image source, Mathieu Biselx

Mr Biselx, who has been receiving treatment in hospital in Glasgow, is the president of the Sion section of the Swiss Alpine Club. His companions were also club members.

The avalanche is understood to have happened above the climbers.

A huge rescue operation was mounted involving Lochaber and Glencoe mountain rescue teams, Coastguard helicopter crews, military personnel, police and the ambulance service.

Paul Boggis, a mountaineering instructor, was among climbers in the area who helped to carry the climbers from the scene of the accident.

He said one of his clients had heard what they thought were shouts for help. Soon after, people could be seen heading for an area below Number 5 Gully, and then a Coastguard helicopter appeared close by.

Image caption,
Mountain rescue teams, the coastguard, police and ambulance service were involved in the rescue effort

Mr Boggis did not go with his clients to the slope beneath the gully for fear of further avalanches, and instead went for where a group of people had gathered around a casualty below the slope.

He told BBC Scotland: "We asked if we could help and we were asked if we could help with that casualty.

"The others had transceivers (emergency locator beacons), we didn't have transceivers, and they headed for the snow slope in the firing line of Number 5 Gully.

"So there were some very brave people on the scene who were helping the casualties."

Mr Boggis did his best to make the casualty he was with comfortable, before he and his two clients helped to carry him from the scene.

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