Missing Girl, 16, Shares How She Found Her Way to Safety After 54 Hours Lost in Wilderness

Esther Wang
Esther Wang (left) emerged from the wilderness after 54 hours (right) and is now sharing her story (letter inset).Handouts

Esther Wang had been hiking with a group in Golden Ears Park in British Columbia when she got separated from the pack at around 3 p.m. on June 27, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement.

A 16-year-old girl emerged from the wilderness on Thursday just hours after day three of the search and rescue operation to locate her was called off for the night.

Esther Wang had been hiking with a group in Golden Ears Park in British Columbia, Canada, when she got separated from the pack at around 3 p.m. on June 27, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement.

She then emerged from the densely forested and mountainous area at around 9:30 p.m., walking out on the very same path she had been travelling when she got separated from her group two days prior, said RCMP.

"Esther Wang has been located," Superintendent Wendy Mehat said in a statement on Thursday. "She is healthy, she is happy and she is with family."

Upon hearing that the teenager had gone missing, the RCMP stated that they launched the Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue team immediately on Tuesday.

There were 16 teams in total looking for Esther over the course of three days, but in the end it was the teenager who found her own way out,

It all played out a bit like the Showtime series "Yellowjackets," about a group of high school soccer players who find themselves similarly stranded in the unforgiving Canadian wilderness.

Esther got to return home soon after she emerged from the woods after an assessment by BC Health Services, said the RCMP,

'Esther’s family has expressed sincere gratitude to all first responders and Search and Rescue groups," Mehat said. "They are very thankful for this outcome and request privacy at this time."

Mehat also thanked those who tirelessly volunteered their time to spend three days searching for the teen.

"We used as many resources as we could," said Mehat. "I’d like to thank our partner organizations, the RCMP, other first responders, the helicopter companies that assisted us in this exhaustive search."

Inside Edition Digital obtained parts of a letter sent by Esther to her volleyball teammates detailing her ordeal in which she acknowledged seeing rescue crews on multiple occasions.

Despite her efforts to draw the attention of these groups by flashing her light an screaming, she went unnoticed in the dense wilderness.

“I was filled with hopelessness and fear, but I knew I could not give up," wrote Esther.

She said that she slipped and hit her head on some rocks at one point and lost her phone during the ordeal.

Eventually, she found her way to a river and followed the stream to a gravel path which took her to a beach, in the opposite direction of where she wanted to be in the park.

“The sign at the beach was labeled ‘Hiker’s Beach’ and I knew I needed to get to the Gold Creek parking lot which was in the opposite direction, according to the sign," write Esther.  "So, I dragged my feet back to the river and crossed as carefully as possible and followed the path.”

Things became most difficult in that final hour, said Esther.

“I began to feel dizzy, and I started to imagine things in front of me when there clearly wasn’t anyone around me,” she wrote in her letter. “I continued to encourage myself to keep moving forward and to not give up yet. It was around 9:15 p.m. when the gravel road ended at the Gold Creek parking lot, and I could see some people in the distance. I waved and immediately, I recognized my parents and I tried to run towards them.”

Esther then got cleared by the medical team and headed back home where she was "finally able to get a good night’s sleep in my bed."



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