New search technology leads to discovery of body

Search area
Glen Etive, near Glen Coe, had been the focus of extensive searches over several days

A body believed to be that of a hillwalker reported missing more than six weeks ago was found with the help of new technology.

The family of Charlie Kelly, who disappeared while walking in Glen Etive, were informed of the discovery. A formal identification has still to take place.

A huge effort was made to find the father-of-three from Tillicoultry, with members of 10 different mountain rescue teams and also dogs and helicopters searching a massive area and difficult terrain.

Images taken by drones and then analysed by computer software and rescuers led to the body being found on 24 October - about 50m (164ft) from where search teams had been looking days earlier.

The technology has been developed by Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA).

It involves drones taking multiple photographs as they fly over an area of ground.

LDSAMRA said each image is overlapped, so objects that cannot be seen from one angle, can be spotted from another.

After the drone lands, the photographs are analysed by software which searches each image for unusually coloured clusters of pixels in a natural landscape.

These anomalies are then viewed by search teams to determine if any objects require further investigation.

Charlie Kelly
Charlie Kelly went missing on a walk in Glen Etive

LDSAMRA worked with Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team on 24 October in a search of a glen where Mr Kelly's rucksack had previously been found in Glen Etive area.

The technology detected something in the landscape that was then investigated by rescue team volunteers on the ground.

The Lake District team said the body was discovered a short time later in "extremely broken steep ground".

It said the complexity of the terrain had obscured the body from the view of search teams.

Glen Coe search
The search terrain was described as complex

LDSAMRA said: "The hope is that this new technology can go on to save lives at risk, and bring answers and closure to the families of those whose time has passed."

Mr Kelly, 56, left his home in Clackmannanshire on 6 September to travel to the Highlands.

He was last in touch with his family the following day.

Rescue team volunteers continued to look for him when in the Glen Etive area after the formal search effort was stood down.