'Terrifying development' as missing hiker's last selfie revealed

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·4-min read

The boyfriend of a hiker who mysteriously went missing has revealed the last selfie she sent him before she vanished without a trace.

Esther Dingley went missing while on a solo trek to the top of Pic de Sauvegarde in the Pyrenees on the France-Spain border.

She was due to return on November 25, but her boyfriend Dan Colegate raised the alarm after the last he heard from her was when she sent him a selfie during her trek three days prior.

Esther Dingley smiles at the top of Pic de Sauvegarde in the Pyrenees.
The last selfie Esther Dingley sent her boyfriend before her disappearance. Source: Facebook/Esther&Dan

The 37-year-old Brit went missing after travelling in the couple's camper van on her own while he stayed at a farm in Gascony in France, Mr Colegate was quoted as saying by the BBC.

It came just after she wrote on Facebook she would accept a lift from a fellow hiker to her camper van as bad weather lingered.

“I had the option of staying at a great cabin, even had a mattress, but it was only 2pm, or going down with my fellow hiker and getting a lift,” she said.

“He’d take me further up the valley so I could continue my planned tour to another refuge or back to the camper.”

Dan Colegate and Esther Dingley pose together during a hike.
Dan Colegate is holding out hope Esther Dingley will be found. Source: Facebook/Esther&Dan

Mr Colegate shared the tragic news that she was missing in a Facebook page documenting the pair’s travels.

“I’m broken. Shattered to report that my beloved Esther, the person who taught me how to feel, is missing,” he wrote.

“Search and rescue teams have so far found no trace of her.”

‘Terrifying development’ in search for Esther Dingley

While rescue teams used helicopters, dogs and drones to search for Ms Dingley, her boyfriend revealed authorities were now investigating possibilities other than her being involved in a mountain accident.

He wrote on Facebook after days of searching there was still no trace of her on the walking trails.

Mr Colegate added being an experienced hiker, the terrain, and the weather she would have experienced, it is unlikely she would have run into trouble on the mountain.

“Search coordinators have essentially told me that although they can never be 100 per cent sure, the prevailing opinion in the search teams is that she isn’t there,” Mr Colegate wrote.

“That if she had fallen from one of the paths, they really would have expected to find her given the intensity, the closeness of the search and the fact most of the trails are really quite straightforward across open ground.”

Esther Dingley and Dan Colegate smile together in front of their camper van.
Esther Dingley and Dan Colegate have been travelling around Europe for the past six years. Source: Facebook/Esther&Dan

As Ms Dingley has been listed as a national missing persons case in Spain, Mr Colegate said authorities would look at what else could have happened to her.

“While this is a terrifying development in many ways, I’m trying to focus on the fact that it leaves the door open that Esther might still come home. She was so utterly happy and joyful when we last spoke, I’d do anything to see her face and hold her right now,” he said.

Investigators search for man who offered lift

The Sun reports police are searching for a man who offered a lift to Ms Dingley as she feared bad weather was headed her way.

According to the publication, a source said it is believed the missing hiker was dropped where her van was found at Benasque on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees.

Esther Dingley's camper van sits in a car park facing a mountain range.
It is believed Esther Dingley may have been dropped at her camper van after accepting a lift from a fellow hiker. Source: Facebook/Esther&Dan

“This man would have had conversations with her and may know what she planned,” the source said.

“They may have arranged to meet and hike another route. It is imperative that we find him.”

Ms Dingley and Mr Colegate have spent the past six years travelling around Europe, documenting their travels on the Facebook page Esther & Dan.

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