French hiker found alive after five nights in Pyrenees hole

A French hiker who fell into a crevice in the Pyrenees mountains and spent five nights trapped inside was found alive and relatively unscathed on Wednesday, police said.

French hiker found alive after five nights in Pyrenees hole
Photo: AFP

“The man is conscious, he is talking and has a few injuries. It's a real miracle,” said Sebastien Grandclement, head of the mountain police in the Oloron-Sainte-Marie area of southwestern France.

The man in his forties, whose named was not given, is thought to have fallen into the 10-15 metre (-yard) hole on Friday night.

He has been transferred to a nearby hospital to be treated for leg injuries and hypothermia.

The first indications the man gave them suggested he had spent five nights at the bottom of the snow-filled hole “and he has come out practically unharmed,” said Grandclement.

The hiker set off alone on Friday from the village of La Pierre Saint-Martin.

A sizeable French and Spanish search party, including police, rescue workers and a helicopter, went to look for him the following day.

He was finally found on Wednesday morning, when members of the search party heard him “moaning” in response to their calls as they made their way along his suspected route.

Poor weather meant the rescue team operated “in difficult and dangerous conditions”, said William Vaquette, head of the region's police paramilitary unit.

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Partner finds body of missing British hiker close to border between France and Spain

The partner of a British hiker who went missing in the French Pyrenees last November has found her body, her family said on Tuesday, adding that an accident was "the most likely hypothesis".

Partner finds body of missing British hiker close to border between France and Spain
Illustration photo: Raymond Roig/AFP

Esther Dingley, 37, had been walking on her own in the mountain range, which straddles the border between France and Spain, but had not been heard from since sending a WhatsApp message on November 22nd.

Her partner Daniel Colegate, who raised the alarm over her whereabouts, found her body on Monday following a “relentless search”, according to a family statement released by charity LBT Global.

Colegate found Dingley’s body and equipment close to where a bone was found by a mountain runner two weeks ago.

A DNA test on the bone confirmed last month that it belonged to the hiker.

“At this stage an accident is the most likely hypothesis, given the location and other early indications,” the statement said.

“A full investigation is under way to confirm the details.”

Her family said they “remain incredibly grateful for the efforts of the police units involved and their commitment to understanding the exact circumstances of Esther’s death”.

Dingley had planned to make a loop around the Salvaguardia peak, which stands at 2,738 metres above sea level, between Spain and where her vehicle was parked, according to investigators.

The BBC reported she and Colegate, who were partners for 20 years, had travelled around Europe in a camper van after leaving northeast England in 2014.

Colegate was house-sitting at a Gascony vineyard while his girlfriend took their motor home on the journey to Spain.