Hampshire Based Servicewoman Killed In Avalanche

16 February 2013, 10:30 | Updated: 16 February 2013, 11:11

Heart's found out a second RAF officer killed in an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands was a Hampshire based servicewoman.

32-year-old Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps, originally from Dulverton, Somerset, was killed after it happened in the Cairngorms on Thursday.

She had most recently been based at RAF Odiham near Basingstoke and is the second of the three people to be named after police yesterday identified the first as RAF Squadron leader 33-year-old Rimon Than who was based at RAF Valley, North Wales.

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

The avalanche struck as two groups of six climbers made their way up opposite sides of a gorge.

Police, Cairngorm mountain rescue team, Cairngorm mountain ski patrol, search and rescue dogs, RAF Lossiemouth's rescue team and three helicopters were involved in the rescue operation.

Flt Lt Capps was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 2001 as a logistics officer and worked on a variety of Royal Air Force stations, the MoD said.

Most recently she had worked with the Chinook Force at Royal Air Force Odiham, and she had previously served on operational tours in Iraq, the Falkland Islands, Afghanistan and Qatar.

RAF colleagues paid tribute to Flt Lt Capps, who was described as "an exceptional person''.

Group Captain Dominic Toriati, the Station Commander at Royal Air Force Odiham, 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.''

Wing Commander Ian Richardson, chairman of the RAF Mountaineering Association, said:

"Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps was a bubbly and enthusiastic member of the committee and Association.

"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.''

Flt Lt Capps was an experienced mountaineer, having taken part in a expedition in the Indian Himalayas and led a group on an expedition that circumnavigated Mount Kenya and summited Point Lenana.

Her commanding officer, Officer Commanding Logistics Squadron, Squadron Leader Georgina Mews said:

"Fran was an exceptional person to know, having unbounded passion and energy and being loved by everyone on the Squadron. Her loss will be felt across the whole Logistics Community and wider.''