‘They’re heroes’: Esther Dingley’s boyfriend praises search teams after autopsy ruled she ‘died instantly after slipping in worn hiking boots and plunging 100ft off a cliff’
In a lengthy social media post Dan Colegate, 38, praised the ‘heroes’ who not only attempted to find his girlfriend’s body but also rescued other people on the mountain range.
He revealed he and Esther’s mum Ria has met with the lead investigator in Toulouse, France, who had outlined their findings that the experienced hiker most likely slipped and fell to her death.
Dan, who found his girlfriend’s body after almost a year of searching, said he did not have words to describe how challenging the last few months had been.
French police said he had covered hundreds of miles along the French-Spanish border looking for the 37 year old’s body.
An autopsy found that British hiker Esther Dingley died instantly after plummeting 100ft from a rocky ledge.
The 37-year-old suffered multiple bone fractures in the fall, which was ‘100 per cent an accident’, a source at the prosecutor’s office said.
‘The final report will be compiled, but effectively the case will be seen as closed.’
The boyfriend of hiker Esther Dingley has paid an emotional tribute to the search teams from France and Spain who tried to find her body after he reported her missing 10 months ago
Dan Colegate, 38, (right) praised the ‘heroes’ who not only attempted to find his girlfriend Esther Dingley’s body but also rescued other people on the mountain range
An autopsy found that British hiker Esther Dingley, 37, died instantly after plummeting 100ft from a rocky ledge and suffered multiple bone fractures in the fall, which was ‘100 per cent an accident’
Details of the autopsy were sent to the French prosecutor investigating her death and Esther’s boyfriend Dan Colgate who found her body earlier this week.
Posting on his and Esther’s joint Facebook page, Dan wrote: ‘I expect some of you will have seen some of the recent statements made by the French authorities overseeing the investigation into Esther’s death.
‘Myself and Esther’s mum visited the lead investigator in Toulouse this morning and they provided us with all the information they have at this time.
‘It is, of course, up to them now to release that information once it is formally confirmed.
‘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.
‘Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts.’
French investigators earlier said Esther fell to her death after losing her footing on a rocky ledge near to the 2,300ft summit of the Pic de la Glere which straddles the French-Spanish border.
Esther went missing on November 22 while solo hiking in the Pyrenees. She was reported missing by Colegate on November 24, just a day before her trip was due to end, sparking a massive manhunt.
The search was suspended in December due to deteriorating weather but resumed in the Spring and human remains, later confirmed to be a piece of Esther’s skull, were found last month.
Esther went missing on November 22 while solo hiking in the Pyrenees. She was reported missing by Colegate on November 24, just a day before her trip was due to end, sparking a massive manhunt
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline the Public prosecutor in charge of the investigation Christophe Amunzateguy suggested Dingley had lost her footing as she was wearing a pair of worn hiking boots that failed to give her any grip on the rocky path.
Dingley was wearing a pair of worn La Sportiva hiking shoes, rather than a Kahtoola Microspikes traction system that she had with her.
The spikes are marketed as the ‘gold standard’ crampon-style add-ons for mountains ‘in frozen conditions’.
Mr Amunzateguy said the shoes were worn after months of use, and ‘clearly the soles were a bit smooth’.
Dan (left) revealed he and Esther’s mum Ria has met with the lead investigator in Toulouse, France, who had outlined their findings that the experienced hiker most likely slipped and fell to her death
The Public prosecutor in charge of the investigation suggested Dingley had lost her footing as she was wearing a pair of worn hiking boots that failed to give her any grip on the rocky path
He admitted the events leading to the Dingley’s death might never be known.
He said: ‘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.’
The prosecutor said all the evidence so far gathered by his forensic teams points to an accidental death.
He is waiting for the results of an autopsy before making public his findings.
‘The accidental theory is now more than strong because the body was found directly below a kind of rocky peak,’ he said.
‘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 twenty or even thirty meters.’
Items from her rucksack, including her phone were found scattered on a rocky ledge spread close to remains of her body that were discovered earlier this week by Colegate.