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New avalanche warning as Highland snow storms gather.

AN URGENT avalanche warning was issued to climbers in the Scottish Highlands yesterday - five days after four people died after being buried under tons of snow near Ben Nevis.

Yesterday's new warning, from the Scottish Avalanche Information Service, follows fresh falls of snow and strong south-westerly winds.

Experts say the danger is particularly acute in the Lochaber area - scene of Tuesday's tragedy.

There are new build-ups of snow in sheltered areas of the mountains and the avalanche hazard is said to be "considerable".

The SAIS also say that fresh snow and winds are expected overnight and during tomorrow.

Unstable accumulations of snow have formed on north, north-east and east facing slopes and gullies above 900 metres.

"Avalanches are likely in these areas," a spokesman for the service said.

In the Galloway Hills, a champion sheepdog who survived last weekend's hurricane in the freezing cold has been reunited with his owner. Whisp, a collie, was missing for five days in the wilds, in winds of up to 100mph.

Owner Peter Cole of South Liggate, Carsphairn, was on holiday in the South of England when his dog ran away.

Brian Fergusson, who was looking after Whisp and eight other collies for Cole, spent Christmas and the following days scouring the hills in the sub-zero temperatures and several inches of snow.

He and other locals on the search had almost given up hope when the frightened collie was spotted on a tiny island in the icy cold Water of Deugh at Carsphairn. Brian waded waist deep into the flooded river to pluck the freezing dog to safety.

In Bellshill, Lanarkshire, an off-duty police officer on a night-time fishing trip had to be airlifted to safety as flood waters threatened to engulf his tiny island refuge.

The officer was rescued by a Sea King helicopter after 14 hours stranded on the island.

He rang for help on a mobile phone and at first light yesterday the helicopter alerted from HMS Gannet found him. An ambulance sped him to Law Hospital, Carluke. He was later allowed home.

A 22-year-old woman was in a "serious but stable" condition in Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow, last night after being hit by a police car in the south side of Glasgow in the early hours of New Year's Day. Jane Edminston, of Priesthill Glasgow, suffered internal, head, pelvic and arm injuries.
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 3, 1999
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