Esther Dingley search: Six teams look for her in Pyrenees

Esther Dingley search: Six teams look for her in Pyrenees

Search teams and a helicopter have been out in the Pyrenees looking for a missing British woman who has spent six years on a campervan tour of Europe.

Esther Dingley, 37, last messaged her partner Dan Colegate via Whatsapp a week ago, when she was on top of Pic de Sauvegarde on the France-Spain border.

She had been due to return from her solo walking trek on Wednesday but has not been seen.

French authorities said six search teams had been out looking on Sunday.

A helicopter was deployed on the Spanish side of the border and another one is expected to go up on Monday on the French side.

The mountain gendarmerie unit in Bagneres-de-Luchon said teams had been out on Sunday in the area between Port de la Glère and Port de Vénasque.

According to the gendarmerie, witnesses told the Civil Guard in Spain they saw Ms Dingley on Pic de Sauvegarde, which is 2,730m above sea level, last Sunday.

A spokesperson said: “The problem is that we are in lockdown here so there aren’t that many hikers on the paths.

“Nobody has come forward with any information about her.”

On Monday mountain rescue teams are expected to search the more inaccessible areas while the weather remains good.

Ms Dingley had been travelling in the couple’s camper van while Mr Colegate stayed at a farm in the Gascony area of France.

The weekend she set out on the trek, the couple’s story about their adventures around Europe in the camper van since 2014 was published by BBC News.

Ms Dingley had started walking from Benasque in Spain on Saturday and had planned to spend Sunday night at Refuge de Venasque in France, Mr Colegate said.

Mr Colegate, who has gone to the Luchon area to help look for his partner of 18 years, said she had been away for a month and their last conversation had been about “how excited we were to see each other as this was her last trip before driving back”.

The couple had lived in Durham before deciding to pack up their lives and go travelling after Mr Colegate nearly died from an infection.

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