At 7.45pm on Tuesday 7th December 1982 a United States F-111F aircraft, tail number 70-2377 crashed on Sgurr na Stri. Maj Burnley L. Rudiger and 1 Lt Steven J. Pitt were killed. I lead a team of 6 plus my dog that flew in on that wild night in a blizzard from RAF Kinloss in Morayshire in 40 years of Rescues all over the UK this was one scary night. We were praying for a good outcome as we had a few months previously been to a recovery of both crew of another F111, who had ejected in the capsule. This was unique to this aircraft. It was wonderful to get both crew alive unfortunately in Skye this did not happen.We searched everywhere, it was dark, the ground was very difficult, wet rock on fresh snow with big cliffs guarding the way. We were hoping to find the crew but there had been no time to eject. It will be a difficult trip at times for me.We must never forget that these tragedy’s involve real people and families who have to live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives.Major Rudiger (37) , the pilot, was from Virginia USA and 1st Lieutenant Pitt (28), the aircraft’s weapons systems officer, was from New York. Both men left a wife and two children who were, at that time resident in the south of England. Major Rudiger was highly experienced, having flown F-111s since 1969. It is never easy for those who are left behind. One of the amazing things is how the families still thank 30 years later for those who were involved in the recovery on that wild night. Their words are incredible and though we have never met, even in a tragedy it is these contacts that give you faith in human nature. God bless you all.
30 years on December 2012 – Planning:
We had a chat between friends yesterday sorting out the logistics for our trip, it is all based on the weather and getting a fishing boat in to Loch Coruisk, if not we have a big walk in. We also plan to spend a night in Broadford on Skye to ensure we get to Egol in time for our boat on Friday. It is only a short trip across but what a place to be. We plan to stay in Coruisk hut which is a climbing hut at Loch Coruisk, what a situation to be living. It has all the basics and the last time I stayed was over 30 years ago, I have visited it often as I love the great climbs that are accessible from this remote place. It can be seen from afar with the great St Andrews cross painted on it, I love it! The Coruisk Memorial Hut is situated on the Island of Skye at the head of Loch Scavaig, close to where the River Scavaig flows the few hundred metres from Loch Coruisk to the Sea. It is about 100m from a new landing stage in Loch na Cuilce (off Loch Scavaig) (OS Sheet 32, Grid Ref: NG 487197). The building is self-contained and sleeps 9 persons in bunks within the main room. Sleeping bags are required although there are a number of blankets. Power is supplied by bottled gas that serves the cookers, lights and new stove. Both the flush toilet and the kitchen sink are served by a water pipe running from a nearby burn. All pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, etc. are also provided. (Only sleeping bags, clothing and food are required.)
It is owned by a Climbing Club the (JMCS) – Junior Mountaineering Club of Scotland
and will be our Base for 2 days. n spite of its remoteness the hut is ideally situated for excursions to Sgurr na Stri (recommended), Druim nan Ramh, The Dubhs, Gars-bheinn and the more demanding traverse of the Cuillin Ridge. Rock climbing of all grades is found nearby. On less energetic days one might include low-level walks around Loch na Cuilce, where there are many seals and other forms of wildlife, or around Loch Coruisk, where the scenery is most dramatic with the black rocks plunging into the watery depths. I pray for good weather so we can make our trip to Sgurr na Stri and pay our respects.