RESCUERS today found the body of an off piste skier who was swept to his death by an avalanche in Glencoe.
He was named yesterday as Daniel Maddox, 41, of Clackmannanshire, an “extremely experienced” skier.
Northern Constabulary and Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team had led the search for him since he disappeared, in Etive Glades, on Saturday.
They were able to identify where he had been buried under the snow by his equipment, and dug four-metre-deep trenches to recover his body. He had been skiing with a friend, who was unhurt in the incident.
John Grieve, leader of Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Because of the avalanche he had been swept down into a gully, which was very deep. We had found his equipment on Saturday, so we had a good idea he was in that area.
“We dug trenches that were about four metres deep. It took over an hour of digging to recover the body. It was very hard, like concrete, a mixture of stones, rocks and ice which had been swept down with the avalanche.”
Mr Grieve had known Mr Maddox as a child, when he learned to ski alongside his own children. Two of the men helping with the rescue effort had been friends of his and had been involved in a similar incident at the same spot two years ago.
“I thought that was a nice touch,” Mr Grieve said about their help. “He was an extremely experienced skier. But he had no chance. You can get away with it if you are lucky enough to sit on top of the avalanche. It just depends where you are.”
A post mortem will determine how he died, but he may have been killed by the force of the avalanche, which swept him 1,000ft down the hill, and died before his body was trapped under snow and ice.
Mr Grieve said: “I think he would have suffered trauma during the fall. It’s very likely he would have been killed during the fall.”
About 30 people from Glencoe and Lochaber mountain rescue teams, police, the mountain resort’s ski patrol and an RAF Lossiemouth helicopter were involved in the search on Saturday.
It was halted on Saturday evening and began again at 8am yesterday. Mr Maddox’s body was eventually recovered at 11:20am.
Off-piste skiing is a high risk sport. It is often referred to as “back country” skiing and involves the use of unofficial slopes which are not patrolled or maintained.
Mr Grieve said: “This is quite adventurous stuff they were doing. Not run of the mill skiing. It’s like all dangerous sports, there’s a risk.”
A forecast on the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service website on Saturday placed Glencoe at “considerable risk” of an avalanche.