Two men have died in separate accidents in the Mournes today.
With the milder weather, a number of hillwalkers have taken to the Mournes for a mid-winter walk or climb, however, the weather has changed quickly and there have been high winds and low cloud and mist.
Seán Byrne from Camlough fell 100-feet on Wee Binnian, and Robert Robinson from Banbridge, also fell in very bad weather conditions on Slieve Commedagh down a steep slope.
A PSNI NMD spokesperson said: ” This was a very tough and challenging day in the Mournes as Police 46 and other emergency services responded to three separate incidents. In strong winds we managed to airlift one male out, but sadly the two others had died. Our thoughts are with their loved ones.”
Hazzard expresses sympathies after Mournes deaths.
Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has expressed his condolences following the deaths of two walkers in the Mournes today.
The South Down MP said: “The tragic news that two men died today while walking in the Mournes will have shocked the entire local community.
“The first man died on Wee Binnion while the second lost his life after a fall in Slieve Commedagh.
“I’d like to commend the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team and the emergency services who responded to today’s incidents and who also rescued a third walker who got into difficulties elsewhere in the Mournes.
“My thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of those who tragically died in these incidents in the Mournes today.”
The incidents today highlight the dangers that climbers and walkers can face in the Mourne’s and anyone venturing into this environment needs to be aware of these dangers and should properly plan their visit with all the contingencies necessary
One of the deceased climbers was from Camlough near Newry.
Conor Murphy MLA Expresses His Sympathies.
Armagh and Newry MLA Conor Murphy has expressed his sympathies on the two tragedies in the Mournes and said: “The death of Seán Byrne from Camlough has utterly devastated the local community. Seán was a popular and highly respected family man. He had a great love for Craobh Rua Hurling Club and the local community.
“Seán was rest assured to be seen at any fund raising Quiz or event that took place here. He was a keen photographer and would be present at hurling, cycling, running and swimming events snapping away.
“The Byrne family had a long coal and oil business tradition and would be known to many throughout south Armagh.
“We can assure them that they are in our thoughts and prayers at this dark and devastating time. We as a community will give them what support we can.”
A Mourne Mountain Rescue Team spokesman said on social media: “There was also a callout yesterday 12 January.
“At 17.20hrs the team received a request to assist a group of four walkers who were in difficulty in the area around Slieve Lamagan/Cove Mountain.
“The group had been out on a long day’s walking. Suffering from cold, fatigue and overtaken by darkness, they became concerned that some group members would be unable to make it down to safety.
“The team responded, put a search plan in place and were able to locate the stricken party fairly quickly.
“Following an initial assessment, some food and hot drinks, the four were able to walk to team vehicles to get further warmed and fed before being transported back to their own vehicle to make their way home. 20 members responded and the team stood down at 20.30.”