Ben Nevis rescue on Wednesday required very tricky helicopter manoeuvre

A rescue on Ben Nevis required the Coastguard helicopter crew to carry out a “rare and tricky” manoeuvre in bad weather on Wednesday night.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the helicopter had to be reversed into the “notorious” Five Finger Gully because of severe turbulence and poor visibility. 

Ben Nevis can be tricky to navigate

The man was on a ledge in the gully which has a sheer drop and is known for serious accidents and fatalities.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the man was “ill-equipped” for conditions on Ben Nevis, which now has a covering of snow.  The weather conditions on Wednesday were quite poor, with driving rain, mist and strong winds.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and Inverness Coastguard helicopter crew searched for the walker and he was spotted on the ledge by the Winch Operator after an initial brief sighting with the helicopter’s infra-red camera.

The winch operator said: “The casualty was hard to locate as he was wearing all black and the only illumination was the back light of his mobile phone.  His location was in the notorious Five Finger Gully which has a sad history of fatalities and complicated technical rescues after navigational errors by walkers”. 

He was about a mile away from where he thought he was on the mountain. 

“In severe turbulence and poor visibility, the crew of Rescue 951 had to reverse the helicopter into the gully to achieve the rescue. The casualty was precariously perched on a ledge with a sheer drop below and was still attempting to shuffle down the gully. Thankfully, he was uninjured, and we were able to bring him to safety.”

A spokeswoman for the MCA described the reversing of the helicopter during the rescue as “rare and tricky”.

A video of the helicopter rescue can be seen here https://www.facebook.com/MCA/videos/469853506829391/

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