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Exmoor woman Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps among three killed in Scottish Highlands avalanche

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps

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A woman from Exmoor has been named as the second of three people who were killed in an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands.

Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps, 32, originally from Dulverton, was killed in the accident in the Cairngorms on Thursday. She was today named by the Ministry of Defence.

She is the second of the three victims to be named after police yesterday identified the first as RAF Squadron leader Rimon Than, 33, who was based at RAF Valley, North Wales.

The third fatality was a student on a course at the Glenmore Lodge centre.

The three climbers were found buried in snow and were airlifted from the Chalamain Gap area to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary shortly after 12.30pm on Thursday but died of their injuries.

Flight Lieutenant Capps was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 2001 as a Logistics Officer and worked on a variety of Royal Air Force Stations, most recently working with the Chinook Force at Royal Air Force Odiham. She had also served on operational tours in Iraq, the Falkland Islands, Afghanistan and Qatar.

Group Captain Dominic Toriati, the Station Commander at Royal Air Force Odiham, today paid tribute to her.

He said: “Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps was an exceptionally dedicated Royal Air Force Officer and Logistician who was well known throughout the Service for her remarkable commitment, her joie de vivre and her utter professionalism.

“Fran achieved success wherever she served most recently receiving a Chief of Joint Operations Commendation for her professional excellence, confidence and ‘can-do’ approach in Al Udeid.

“From Basrah to Kandahar to the Falkland Islands, Fran’s boundless spirit and energy has shone through.”

“A measure of the regard in which she was held was her selection to represent the Royal Air Force at the London Olympic medal ceremonies, where she brought her characteristic mixture of fun and hard work to bear to inspire her own team.

“Fran loved adventurous sport taking part in activities including the Scotland Coast to Coast Challenge and she would have been in her element in the Cairngorms in winter. These characteristics were evident to all who met her at Royal Air Force Odiham. She was a popular and dynamic officer with huge potential for the future whose loss will be sorely felt.

“Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps will be missed by all and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this very sad time.”

Wg Cdr Ian Richardson, Chairman of the RAF Mountaineering Association, described Flight Lieutenant Capps as “bubbly and enthusiastic” person.

He said: “Fran was always smiling, always enthusiastic, always welcoming and always willing to get involved and share her love of the hills with everyone in the Association and beyond. She will be sorely missed.”

Air Commodore Russell La Forte, President of the RAF Mountaineering Association, said: “I and all members of the RAF Mountaineering Association are shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of two of our colleagues in an avalanche in the Cairngorm Mountains on 14 February.

“Both Rimon and Fran were stalwart members of the Association. Talented mountaineers and tireless members of the Association’s committee, they both contributed an enormous amount to RAF and Service mountaineering, having led groups on expeditions overseas.

“They will be greatly missed by the military mountaineering community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families at this tragic time.”

Officer Commanding Logistics Squadron, Squadron Leader Georgina Mews, described Flight Lieutenant Capps as an “exceptional person to know” and said she was “loved by everyone on the Squadron”.

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