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‘They are heroes’: Esther Dingley’s partner praises Pyrenees search teams after he found her body

Written by on 15/08/2021

Esther Dingley’s partner has praised the French and Spanish police teams who searched for the climber after she went missing in the Pyrenees.

Ms Dingley, 37, had been walking by herself in the mountains near the border of the two countries in November when she went missing.

Search and rescue teams from Spain and France had been looking for her but her partner, Daniel Colegate, found her body and equipment together on Monday.

Esther Dingley. Pic: LBT Global charity
Image: Esther was an experienced climber. Pic: LBT Global charity

Mr Colegate, who met Ms Dingley at Oxford University and began travelling around Europe in a campervan with her six years ago, thanked everyone who searched for her in a statement on their shared Facebook page.

He wrote: “The purpose of this post is simply to express my, and the rest of the family’s, continued gratitude and admiration for the work done by all of the various police teams that have been involved on both sides of the border – since day one of the search – both of the search and rescue units and both of the investigative teams.

“I simply don’t have the vocabulary to fully express how challenging these past months have been, but I am certain that without the support, courage and determination of the individuals assigned to lead this case and their team members, those difficulties would have been significantly increased.

“We’ve thanked everyone in person already, but I wanted to say it publicly. Having experienced first hand how hard it was to find answers, I honestly don’t think they could have done more. The only difference between me and them was that I only had a single task, while they continued to rescue others as well. They are heroes.”

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Christophe Amunzateguy, the public prosecutor in charge of the investigation, said Ms Dingley most likely fell to her death after losing her footing on a rocky ledge.

Pic: Esther Dingley and Dan Colgate
Image: Mr Colegate said the search teams could not have done more to help. Pic: Esther Dingley and Dan Colgate

“The accidental theory is now more than strong because the body was found directly below a kind of rocky peak,” he told the Daily Mail.

“We believed that Esther would have fallen because along this wall, we found items that belonged to her and they ended up at the bottom. We estimate the fall at about 20 or even 30 metres.

“The exact and precise circumstances of the death we will never know, a person who falls, and the condition of the body, make the investigation very complicated.”

Instead of flowers and cards, Mr Colegate has asked people to raise money for Ms Dingley’s favourite charity, Sightsavers, which works to prevent curable blindness.

He wrote: “Sharing the beauty of the world was another of Esther’s passions. That anybody should be unable to see this amazing universe we inhabit, for totally preventable reasons, hurt her deeply.”

Anyone who would like to contribute to the fundraiser can donate money here.

 Sky News

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