Yorkshire walker who died on blizzard mountain is named

A WEST Yorkshire hillwalker who died during an expedition with a mountaineering club in the Scottish Highlands has been named by police.

A major search is underway in the Cairngorms
A major search is underway in the Cairngorms

Graham Connell, 31, from Castleford, was found dead in the Jacob’s Ladder area of the Cairngorms yesterday, following a large-scale search for him and five other people who were reported overdue on Sunday afternoon.

The other members in the party were picked up by an RAF rescue helicopter after being located by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team on a hill near Carn Tarsuinn at around 12.10pm. They were not hurt.

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Mr Connell`s body was recovered shortly after.

He was a former student of the University of Leeds, having completed a physics programme in 2004, graduating with a diploma in Higher Education.

A university spokesman said: “We are sorry to learn of the death of one of our former students and our thoughts are with his family and friends. We are working with Leeds University Union and our counselling services to offer support to students who have been affected by this tragedy.”

The search, co-ordinated by Northern Constabulary and Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, involved over 100 people.

The walkers were part of a larger group of 35 people who were visiting the Highlands, police said.

The party of six, including Mr Connell, are thought to be members of the Leeds University Union Hiking Club.

The search operation was also assisted by Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Teams and officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who are thought to have been in the area on a training exercise.

Further help was given by mountain rescue team members from the Lake District and Ogwen Valley in Wales, as well as sniffer dogs. Meanwhile, the RAF sent mountain rescue personnel from RAF stations in Lossiemouth, Leuchars and Leeming.

Police inquiries into the incident are continuing and a report will be submitted to procurator fiscal.

During the search, one of the mountain rescue team members described the weather conditions as “hellish” because of low visibility, snow and gusts of wind up to 80mph.

The walkers were part of a large group of 35 people who were visiting the Cairngorms, police said.

The search was co-ordinated by Northern Constabulary and Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and included mountain rescue personnel from RAF stations in Lossiemouth, Leuchars and Leeming. A total of 112 were involved in the search and rescue operation.

It is thought they may have become disorientated by blizzard conditions which reduced visibility.

One of the party managed to phone police using a mobile phone.

The hiking club website includes a warning about the potential dangers on the Cairngorms trip, including the cold.

Earlier this month, three climbers were airlifted to hospital after being caught up in an avalanche and swept 450ft down the side of Coire an t-Sneachda. Five climbers died in four accidents in early 2007 in the mountain corrie, beneath Cairn Gorm, at 4,084ft the sixth highest peak in Britain.