Missing hiker Esther Dingley ‘last seen by Olympic skier who says Brit continued to summit after asking for fruit’

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MISSING hiker Esther Dingley was reportedly last seen by a Spanish Olympic skier who said the Briton continued on her way to the top after asking for fruit.

Marti Vigo del Arco and his girlfriend, who were walking in the Pyrenees, are said to be the last to see Esther.

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Esther Dingley was last seen walking in the Pyrenees on November 22Credit: Refer to caption
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Marti Vigo del Arco and his girlfriend, who were walking in the Pyrenees, would be the last to see Esther
Esther is seen alongside her partner Dan Colegate

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Esther is seen alongside her partner Dan ColegateCredit: Solarpix

Esther, 37, had undertaken a hike from Port de la Glère to Port de Venasque, a hike that follows the border between France and Spain, according to local police.

Mr Vigo del Arco told La Vanguardia newspaper he met an Englishwoman around 3 p.m. on November 22 – the same day Esther went missing on her long solo trek in the mountains.

He said, “She was going up, we were going down, she was very loaded with a really big backpack.

The couple then stopped for a chat with the woman.

Mr Vigo del Arco added: “She asked us if we had any fruit or something fresh, but we had nothing.

“She continued.

The couple didn’t see anyone else going up the mountain – and they are believed to have been the last to see Dingley.

An hour after the meeting, just before 4 p.m., Dingley reached the peak of 8,983 feet where she sent a selfie to her partner Dan Colegate.

The photo shows her at the top, with a solar panel and a telecommunications mast on the top reflected in her sunglasses.

Colegate reported Esther’s disappearance three days later after receiving no contact from her.

The couple, from Durham, had traveled Europe in a motorhome for six years after Dan, a business development manager, nearly died from a post-surgical infection.

He and Esther, a trained business leader, also spoke openly about the battles with depression that led to their decision to swap conventional living for the great outdoors.

But in posts in March, the two admitted to feeling the tension of being squeezed together in a van for months.

Colegate reported Esther's disappearance three days later after receiving no contact from her4

Colegate reported Esther missing three days later after receiving no contact from herCredit: Solarpix

It comes after The Sun reported today that cops could be “months away” to resume a full aerial and ground search of the missing British mountain.

Bad weather hit the search area – at the Franco-Spanish border – leading to a week of hunting involving helicopters, dogs and around experts from several arrested elite mountain rescue units.

The trackers did not come out on Friday and do not plan to resume their work this weekend due to the snow affecting the village of Benasque and the 9,200ft peak where Esther last made contact with her boyfriend on the 22nd. November.

Investigators concluded the snowfall would almost certainly cover “all tracks and clues” for months, but say some reconnaissance expeditions have not been ruled out if the weather improves.

Sergeant Jorge Lopez Ramos, head of the local Civil Guard’s GREIM mountain rescue team, admitted the operation may not resume with the same intensity until next spring.

He added: “We appreciate that the chances of finding Esther alive are minimal and it leaves a very bitter taste in our mouth.”

Footage shows Spanish cops extending the search for British hiker Esther Dingley to neighboring Pyrenees valleys
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