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A group of mates have been branded 'idiots' by rescuers who risked their lives to save them after hikers became trapped at the top of Ben Nevis.
The four pals, who were wearing trainers to climb the UK's highest mountain, got stuck near the summit during a deadly blizzard yesterday (10 February).
Rescuers were called to the scene and spent four hours trying to get the group off the mountain safely while facing deathly winds and an icy chill that dropped down to -20°C.
After having been saved, the friends were taken to Belford Hospital in Fort William. Their condition is not known.
Speaking about the incident, John Stevenson, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, told the Mirror: "They were absolute idiots. They were all wearing trainers and decided to walk up Ben Nevis in those conditions. They were just plain stupid.
"As far as stupidity goes this is right up there for the rescues we have ever carried out. They weren't climbing - just walking but I don't think they even made the summit.
"They were poorly equipped for any weather let alone those conditions.
"We found the first, then the others and walked them down. It was so bad the helicopter could not even fly back to Inverness, let alone up the mountain.
"These guys didn't have a scooby. It really is maddening. Two of them are particularly bad from the cold.
"All four would have never survived the night up there. They are lucky to be alive and that we found them."
Lochaber Mountain Rescue confirmed that as many as 22 of its team were on Ben Nevis trying to get the group off as safely as possible.
While a UK Coastguard rescue helicopter from Inverness was also called to help assist with the rescue.
An earlier post to the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team's Facebook page read: "22 team members out on summit of Ben Nevis searching for group of four who are stuck on steep ground near summit.
"Weather horrendous with very strong winds and blizzard conditions. Wind chill factor circa -20°C.
"First casualty has been found safe and well and team are now trying to locate the rest of group.
"Rescue 151 (coastguard helicopter) assisting but very limited by weather as to what they can do at this moment."
They updated the post at 7.30pm: "All casualties lifted from Half Way Lochan by R151 and transported by Team to the Belford Hospital.
"Extremely lucky people. No winter kit - no ice axes, no crampons and as far as we are aware no maps. Three of the guys were in trainers!!!!"
Commenting on the post, followers were stunned by the lack of thought and planning that went into the group's trek, with many condemning them for putting other people's lives in danger.
One person wrote: "Unbelievable! How dare people put so many others at risk by going out in ridiculous weather conditions."
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