Scotland - After surviving a 150-ft fall while rock climbing, 51-year-old Mark Phillps died after falling from the helicopter that came to rescue him.
Phillips was with a friend climbing Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands when he fell, suffering serious head injuries. The Sea King, a rescue helicopter based at RAF Lossiemouth, was dispatched to retrieve Phillips and transport him to the hospital.
As he was being winched up into the helicopter, Phillips was killed after he was dropped. No word on exactly what went wrong, but reports speculate that Phillips plunged hundreds of feet to his death after a safety line was severed before he was securely on board the helicopter.
“We sent a team of 18 and used every asset available. Accidents do happen and are going to happen. All it needs is one mistake and in a split second you are gone,” said John Stevenson, the leader of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team who was at the scene.
The Sea King was ordered to stand down and a navy helicopter from HMS Gannet at Prestwick collected Mark Phillips’s body. Phillips’ wife said in a statement released through the police force that she had noted speculation surrounding her husband’s death, stating: “I have entire confidence in the police and the process and I do not want to indulge such speculation.”
She went on to pay tribute to her husband saying, “On 25 February my beloved husband, Mark, was enjoying the superb conditions the Scottish Highlands were affording. He had spent the previous few days climbing and walking in the hills with friends. Tragically, that day he sustained fatal injuries following an incident on Ben Nevis.”
She added: “Mark and I, together with our son, Ruaridh, had moved to the Highlands about 12 years ago so as to live amongst the hills and community we had got to love. Mark was a loving father and husband and will be sorely missed by us and his many friends and work colleagues. Ruaridh and I thank them all for their support.”
Phillips is the 11th climber to die in the Scottish Highlands this winter.