THE OFFICER leading a specialised mountain search team hopes that when snow melts on the highest peaks in the Spanish Pyrenees it may help the hunt for missing hiker Esther Dingley.
Dingley disappeared last November while walking to reach her boyfriend who was on the French side of the border.
She last made contact with Dan Colegate on November 22.
A huge search was called off after bad weather but was renewed last week as summer weather made it possible to scour the highest peaks.
Colonel Santiago Gómez Rivas, of the Civil Guard mountain search team, told the Olive Press: “When the snow melts away, that will help the search in the summer. There is still a lot of snow on the mountains which at 3,000 metres are some of the highest in Spain.”
“We are searching on the highest reaches of the mountains as they are the most difficult areas and we are using two helicopters,” he said.
However, Col. Gomez said the search teams would be diverted during the summer season as more hikers tried to scale the peaks and some got into difficulties.
“With the summer season and the return of walkers on the mountains we cannot dedicate all the resources that we had last winter to the search during the summer,” he said.
Col. Gomez said that the search team had not ruled out that Dingley had crossed over the French side of the border when she went missing.
“Esther could have passed over onto the other side of the border but that doesn’t not mean that we are discounting that she is still here in Spain. The search goes on,” he said.
- Police in Spain resume search for British hiker Esther Dingley as snow thaws in Pyrenees
- Boyfriend of missing hiker Esther Dingley says mystery surrounding her disappearance is ‘agonising’ as he vows to return to Spain to continue search
- Mum of missing British hiker breaks her silence over daughter’s ‘totally out of character’ disappearance