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'Such an event is chilling' - tributes paid to two men killed in separate Mourne Mountains falls

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The Mourne Mountains

The Mourne Mountains

The Mourne Mountains

Police have confirmed that two men have died in separate mountain falls in Co Down this afternoon.

Earlier on Sunday, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) issued a warning to members of the public to take care in the Mourne Mountains due to strong winds.

The PSNI responded to three separate incidents on the mountains.

Inspector Frances McCullough said one man had been rescued.

“Police received a request for assistance after a male was reported to have fallen while walking on Wee Binnian shortly before midday and received a further request for assistance after a male was reported to have fallen while walking on Slieve Commedagh shortly before 1pm," she said.

“Police and other emergency services responded but unfortunately both men died at the scene."

Inspector McCullough said the deaths are not being treated as suspicious.

“A third male was also rescued from the Mountains with a suspected broken ankle following a fall close to the Saddle at around 2.30pm," she said.

South Down MP Chris Hazzard expressed his condolences following news of the deaths.

“The tragic news that two men died today while walking in the Mournes will have shocked the entire local community," the Sinn Fein MP said.

“I’d like to commend Mountain Rescue 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.”

SDLP MLA Colin McGrath has an office at the foot of the Mournes and said the area had suffered "two tragedies in one day".

"Such an event is chilling and shows the power of nature and how it can strike without notice as has happened with these winds today," the South Down MLA said.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those that have died and those involved in the operations to assist those caught in these tragedies."

Belfast Telegraph