Air Force medic among avalanche victims

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One of three people killed by an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands was an RAF squadron leader.

Rimon Than, 33, who was based at RAF Valley in North Wales, died after in the incident in the Cairngorms.

The three were airlifted from the Chalamain Gap area to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary shortly after 12.30pm yesterday.

The avalanche struck as two groups of six climbers made their way up opposite sides of a gorge. One group was part of a winter skills training course and the second was off-duty RAF personnel.

Of the three caught in the avalanche, a man and a woman died on Thursday night and another man died early yesterday.

Police, Cairngorm mountain rescue team, Cairngorm mountain ski patrol, search and rescue dogs, RAF Lossiemouth’s rescue team and three helicopters had been involved in the rescue operation.

Sqn Ldr Than was born in Burma and joined the Royal Air Force as a medical cadet in 2001.

Group Captain Adrian Hill, his station commander, said: “Sqn Ldr Rimon Than was the senior medical officer at RAF Valley and was a fine, dedicated officer and doctor.

“He was passionate about mountaineering and his death is a tragedy. He was well respected and popular, and will be sorely missed by all personnel at RAF Valley. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

Wing Commander Ian Richardson, the chairman of the RAF Mountaineering Association, described him as a “unique and talented individual”, adding he was a “fine doctor and a passionate mountaineer”.