A 32-YEAR-OLD woman from Dulverton has been named as one of three people who died in an avalanche in the Highlands.

The Ministry of Defence announced that Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps died in the avalanche in the Chalamain Gap area on Thursday.

Sqn Ldr Rimon Than, 33, who was based at RAF Valley in North Wales, was also killed, as was a student on a course at the Glenmore Lodge centre.

Nine other people escaped unhurt, while investigators are trying to establish what caused the avalanche.

High-ranking RAF officials have been quick to lead the tributes to Ft Lt Capps.

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.”

Wg Cdr Ian Richardson, Chairman of the RAF Mountaineering Association, said: “Flight Lieutenant Fran Capps was a bubbly and enthusiastic member of the committee and Association.

"Having gained high altitude experience on an expedition to the Indian Himalayas in 2006, she went on to share her experience and develop other mountaineers by successfully leading a group on an expedition that circumnavigated Mount Kenya and summited Pt Lenana.

"Her outstanding organization had transformed aspects of the committee’s administration over the last year or so. 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.”

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.

"Fran achieved success wherever she served most recently receiving a Chief of Joint Operations Commendationfor 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.”