The Search for Esther Dingley: Woman May Not Have Gone Missing While Hiking Pyrenees Mountains, Partner Says
The British hiker that vanished mysteriously has now become a national missing persons case in Spain and is being handled by a specialized judicial unit in France, according to reports.
Where is Esther Dingley? Authorities searching for Esther Dingley, the 37-year-old British woman who vanished after embarking on a solo hike in the Pyrenees, are now looking at “other options beyond a mountain accident," Dingley's partner, Dan Colegate, wrote on the couple’s shared Facebook page, “Esther & Dan.”
Dingley has now been listed as a national missing person in Spain and her case is being handled by a “specialized judicial unit in France,” according to reports.
Colegate, said he last spoke to his partner on Nov. 22 through the WhatsApp app when she was on top of the Pic de Sauvegarde Mountain, according to SkyNews.
On Friday, the PGHM Bagnères de Luchon, the mountain rescue team, wrote in a Facebook post that Dingley’s planned route took her between Port de la Glère and Port de Vénasque mountain passes. Since then, rescue teams have been searching on foot and with helicopters, dogs and drones to find her, but, there has been no trace of the her, Colegate said.
“For several days now there has been talk that perhaps Esther might not be up there and that this was the reason they couldn't find her," said Colegate.
“With no result, day after day taking into account Esther’s high level of experience, the nature of the terrain, the good weather she would have had, the fact that she had a clearly defined route and various other factors, both search coordinators have told me that although they can never be 100% sure … she isn’t there.”
Colegate explained that he was told if Esther had fallen from one of the paths, the search crews would have found her, particularly since the trails are straightforward across open ground.
Dingley and Colegate have been traveling around Europe since 2014, documenting their adventures on social media. Colegate told officials that she was scheduled to return on Wednesday, Nov. 25 and that when they last spoke, she had sent him a photo she took of herself smiling with the mountains as the backdrop.
Colegate, who has been actively searching with the rescue teams, and posting regular updates on his Facebook page, has been asking people for their "prayers, thoughts, candles.”
“While the is a terrifying development in many ways, I’m trying to focus on the fact that it leaves the door open that Esther might come home,” he said. “She was so utterly happy and joyful when we last spoke, I’d do anything to see her face and hold her right now.”
Colegate and Dingley decided to travel Europe by camper van starting in January 2014 after Colegate survived a serious illness, the BBC reported. Colegate has written a number of books about how their lives changed in the wake of a near-death experience, CNN reported.
Colegate, who said he was “broken” by her disappearance and called her “the person who taught me how to feel,” said his partner “believes in the power of positive thought.”
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