POLICE are analysing bones discovered on a mountain path on the French/Spanish border in the Pyrenees to determine whether they might be the remains of missing British hiker Esther Dingley.
A mountain runner came across what he believed to be human remains while navigating a mountain pass in the Pyrenees and alerted police on Thursday afternoon.
Spanish police initially went to the area then called in their French counterparts after discovering that the location was just over the border.
Dingley, 37 disappeared last November while hiking on her own in a region that criss-crossed the border between Spain and France. Her boyfriend Dan Colegate who was waiting for her in France raised the alarm when she failed to arrive.
A Civil Guard spokesman said: “A mountain runner has found what could be human bones just over the French side of the border at Puerto de la Glera. They appear to be human remains, but it is up to the French police now to analyse them.”
Local radio station in Huesca reported police sources indicating that a human skull had been found and that the colour and length of hair corresponded to that of Dingley.
A huge search on both sides of the border by both Spanish and French police found no trace of the hiker before it was called when winter snowfall made continuing impossible.
The search was resumed in May in the hope that snow melt might reveal her whereabouts but again, extensive searches on both sides of the border proved fruitless.
In an interview with the BBC earlier this month, Colegate said he could not rule out his girlfriend, who was an experienced hiker, had been the victim of crime.
The family of Dingley had been informed of the development and were urgently seeking clarification, said LBT Global, an organisation which helps the relatives of those who go missing abroad.”We are aware of the discovery of what MAY be human remains close to the last known location of Esther DINGLEY,” LBT said in a post on facebook.
“We are urgently seeking clarification.
“The family have been informed of the discovery and we are supporting them now.”
French police chief Jean Marc Bordinaro said: “We cannot say anything at the moment because the discovery of the bones is too recent and they must be properly analysed.
“We will not have a result for several days and possibly several weeks.”