Climber dies on Ben Nevis as mountain teams rescue 17 stranded people from UK's highest mountain

People descend from the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland [stock image]. Credit: PA

A 28-year-old man has died in a climbing accident on Ben Nevis, as mountain rescuers launched a major operation to save 17 people who had become stuck on the peak.

Police said the man was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were alerted to a number of people in difficulty on the 4,400ft mountain at about 2.15pm on Tuesday.

The man's death brings the number of fatalities in the Scottish mountains to six in two weeks.

Two other men, a 29-year-old and a 37-year-old, were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

A spokesperson for the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, which was involved in the operation, said the last five days had been "especially busy", with teams called out 12 times since the start of the weekend to rescue 26 people.

Rescuers from Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team on Ben Nevis Credit: Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team/Brodie Hood Photography

“It would be remiss if we didn’t stress just how important it is to be adequately prepared for winter in the hills,” the mountain rescue spokesman said.

“Having the ability to competently navigate with map and compass as well as having and being able to use crampons and axe are vital skills to have if you’re venturing into the hills.”

Inspector Matt Smith, Police Scotland Mountain Rescue coordinator, urged those venturing into the outdoors to take extra care, as large areas remain "totally covered in snow and ice".

“Often these areas are completely unavoidable and snow may be rock hard with a high likelihood of a fall...A slip in these situations may have very serious or fatal consequences", he added.

A Police Scotland spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the man's death, and a report would be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.