A MEDICAL officer previously based at RAF High Wycombe has been killed in an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands.

Tributes have been paid to Squadron Leader Rimon Than, who was one of three climbers who died in the Cairngorms on Thursday.

The avalanche struck as two groups of six climbers made their way up opposite sides of a gorge. One group was part of an organised winter skills training course and the second was off-duty RAF personnel.

Sqn Ldr Than, 33, was born in Burma and initially joined the Royal Air Force as a medical cadet in 2001. Prior to joining RAF Valley, north Wales, in June 2011 he had served at RAF High Wycombe, in Naphill and Walters Ash, as well as RAF Lyneham.

Group Captain Adrian Hill, his station commander at RAF Valley, said: "Sqn Ldr Rimon Than was the senior medical officer at RAF Valley and was a fine, dedicated officer and doctor.

"He was passionate about mountaineering and his death is a tragedy. He was well respected and popular, and will be sorely missed by all personnel at RAF Valley. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."

Wing Commander Ian Richardson, the chairman of the RAF Mountaineering Association, described him as a "unique and talented individual", adding he was a "fine doctor and a passionate mountaineer".