Family fears missing Brit hiker Esther Dingley may have been KIDNAPPED after she vanished in Pyrenees

THE family of missing British hiker Esther Dingley have expressed fears she may have been kidnapped.

Dingley, 37, from Durham, was due to return from a trek in the Pyrenees on November 25, but has not been heard from since sending a mountain-top selfie to her partner three days earlier.


Extensive searches involving helicopters, dogs, and experts from several elite mountain rescue units failed to locate her before being called off due to bad weather.

Authorities have said they are now exploring the possibility that Dingley's disappearance was not a mountain accident.

Speaking to the Mirror, Dingley's aunt, Elizabeth Wolsey Morgan, voiced similar concerns.

“She’s a strong girl and the thing is, the longer it goes on, you wonder has she been kidnapped?" she said.

“If she had an accident they would have probably found her. I feel like I’m living a nightmare. Her father Henry is broken.

"She’s his only daughter. He’s in pieces.”

Dingley is thought to have last been seen by Spanish Olympic skier Marti Vigo del Arco and his girlfriend on November 22.

The couple said they were on a descent at around 3pm when they met an English woman who was still ascending.

They added that they didn't see anyone else coming up the mountain after the encounter.

Around an hour later, Dingley sent a selfie from the summit of the Pic de Sauvegarde to partner Dan Colegate.

Authorities have said the disappearance is particularly strange given that Dingley was an experience climber, was trekking in good weather, and had a clearly defined route for the final days of the trip.

'LOOKING AT OPTIONS OTHER THAN ACCIDENT'

Writing in a Facebook update, Colegate said he had been told the "prevailing opinion in the search teams" was that Dingley wasn't in the mountains.

"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," he said.

"As things stand tonight, Esther is now listed as a national missing persons case in Spain and the case has been passed to a specialised judicial unit in France."

"This means they will be looking at other options beyond a mountain accident."

Captaine Jean-Marc Bordinaro, the French investigator leading the search for Dingley, has dismissed the idea she could have been abducted.

“It’s impossible to be kidnapped on the mountain," he said.

"You’re not going to hide her in a rucksack. There would have to be a camping car or something.”

Police have said they are looking to speak with a mystery fellow hiker that Dingley blogged about getting a lift with on November 19.

There are now fears heavy snow will mean it could be months before the search for Dingley can be resumed.



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