An outdoor sports enthusiast has died after diving into a river while rappelling down a beautiful Highland site, an investigation has found.
Administrator James Schneeberger, 35, drowned after becoming entangled in his rope in the 40-meter-deep Dundonnell Gorge in Ross-shire – a hot spot for adventure sports enthusiasts.
Mr Schneeberger, who had moved from Birmingham to the Scottish town of Dunfermline, rappelled down the gorge around 2 p.m. on 5 August last year with his brother Martin.
James Schneeberger, 35, drowned after becoming entangled in the rope he was using, investigation found
He had crossed a ledge and his brother had lost sight of him.
Concerned, Martin called the mountain rescue service, who discovered James’ body in the river below six hours later.
His rappelling rope had wrapped around his neck and there was no sign of life.
An autopsy later revealed he had drowned after becoming entangled in the rope.
He had also suffered a minor injury which could have been caused by the lapping water.
Coroner Louise Hunt said: âOn August 5, he rappelled down Dundonnell Gorge with his brother at around 2 pm over a fast stream.
Mr Schneeberger rappelled down the gorge around 2 p.m. on August 5 last year with his brother Martin (Photo: Allt a’Mhuillin, near Dundonnell)
He had crossed a ledge and his brother had lost sight of him. Worried, Martin called the Mountain Rescue Service, who discovered James’ body in the river below six hours later (Photo: Dundonnell River)
âHe was lost to follow-up and his brother called emergency services.
âHe was found by a mountain rescue team submerged in water with the rappelling rope tangled around his neck.
âHow he was overwhelmed in this way, we don’t know.
The coroner entered a verdict of accidental death.
Reports at the time of the tragedy suggested that James was on vacation in the area and walking around the area.
HM Coastguard received the distress call at 3:30 p.m., triggering a major response from emergency personnel across the north.
Mr Schneeberger rappelled down the gorge around 2 p.m. on August 5 last year with his brother Martin
Coastguard rescue teams from Gairloch, Ullapool, Loch Ewe and Achiltibuie were all dispatched to the scene alongside the Coast Guard rescue helicopter.
Firefighters and police were also on hand to search for the missing walker.
The effort was led by the Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team, for which members of James’ family raised funds.
On an online Justgiving page, Aunt Sarah Savage wrote, âIn memory of my beautiful nephew James Schneeberger.
âInstead of buying and sending Christmas cards. Adventure with the Angels xx ‘.
Another aunt, Debbie Hart, posted: âIn memory of my beautiful nephew James Sneeberger. Aunt Debbie and Russell Hart ‘RIP.
Judith and Richard Gibson wrote: âIn memory of James Schneeberger who tragically lost his life pursuing the sport he loved. May he rest in peace.’
The Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team operates in a vast, rugged mountainous region of the Highlands.
Volunteers are available 24/7 to help anyone in difficulty on the hills, mountains and rocks.
The vast area they cover includes Affric, Strathfarrar, Wyvis, Fisherfield, An Teallach, Fannichs, Beinn Dearg, and Coigach.
Dundonnell Canyon is a magnet for adventure sports enthusiasts.
Attraction guides promise “non-stop action from the start, jumps, slides and abseils, all contained in this awe-inspiring 40m canyon”.
World famous canyoner and guide Evan Jenkins describes it as “one of the best canyons I have done in the world”.
The area has, however, been the scene of a number of accidents in recent years, including the death of a 78-year-old woman who fell into nearby Corrieshalloch Gorge while walking her dog.
A separate fundraising page – “Remember James Schneeberger” – was created by other enthusiasts hiking in his memory, with funds going to the Venture Trust, which offers nature-based personal development programs. Savage.