TWO former Newcastle University students were among those killed in an avalanche in the Scottish highlands, it emerged yesterday.
Climbers Una Finnegan and Rachel Majumdar, who both studied medicine on Tyneside, died when a snow-covered slope gave way on Saturday.
Meanwhile, their 24-year-old friend, from Durham, was last night still in a critical condition in hospital after being pulled from the snow by rescuers.
Four people were killed in the avalanche, which struck at about 2pm on Saturday at Bidean Nam Bian, Glencoe.
Rescuers said the party were swept up to 1,000ft as the snow gave way within “a split second”. One man survived by leaping from the collapsing sheet and hammering an ice axe into firmer ground.
Ms Finnegan, 25, from County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, and Dr Majumdar, 29, originally from Merseyside, lost their lives alongside PhD students Tom Chesters, 28, from Leeds, and Christopher Bell, 24, from Blackburn.
Friends said the group were experienced climbers, well-equipped for the trek.
Dr Richard Hardern, honorary senior clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University, who taught both women, said: “Una and Rachel were friends at medical school and shared a love of the outdoors. Like many friendships forged on the hill side, theirs was one that lasted after they both moved away from the North East.
“They also shared a talent for nurturing and sustaining friendship. Time spent with either was time spent well.
“They loved life and were an example. There are few photographs of them without a smile. They were well-known, and much-loved, by many. Their loss is felt particularly widely and deeply.”