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Missing girl, 16, shares how she survived in the wilderness for 3 days: 'Knew could not give up'

Esther Wang was on a hiking trip when she took a wrong turn but eventually found her way back and "walked pretty much right into her parents' arms."

Missing girl, 16, shares how she survived in the wilderness for 3 days: 'Knew could not give up'
Cover Image Source: Twitter | Alanna Kelly

A 16-year-old girl, Esther Wang, got lost on a trail at Golden Ears Park in British Columbia on Tuesday, June 27. After a three-day search, the young hiker emerged from the wilderness just hours after the rescue operation to find her was called off for the night. Wang got separated from her hiking group at around 3 p.m. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), approximately 54 hours since she went missing, the 16-year-old later emerged from the densely forested and mountainous area at around 9:30 p.m on June 29, walking out on the very same path she had been traveling when she got separated from her group two days prior. “She is healthy, she is happy and she is with family,” RCMP Superintendent Wendy Mehat wrote in the statement.

"Esther’s family has expressed sincere gratitude to all first responders and Search and Rescue groups. They are very thankful for this outcome and request privacy at this time," added Superintendent Mehat. 16 teams were involved in the search from across the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland up to the Sea-to-Sky corridor. "We used as many resources as we could. I’d like to thank our partner organizations, the RCMP, other first responders, the helicopter companies that assisted us in this exhaustive search," stated Ryan Smith, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue and added: "We’re elated at the outcome of the search and Esther being returned to her family is what our objective was."



RCMP Sergeant Keith Schendel told CityNews that Wang had no serious injuries. “She’s fine, just extremely fatigued and sore, bitten by mosquitoes,” he shared. “So she’s going to be taking some time to rest... Her parents had still been there from the day’s rescue efforts — they’ve been up there fairly continuously for the last couple of days — and she walked pretty much right into their arms,” Schendel added.

It’s not clear how Wang was separated from her group but she shared her story on how she managed to return to safety. According to the letter sent by the girl to CTV News, Wang was "filled with hopelessness and fear, but I knew I could not give up." She wrote that she slipped and hit her head on some rocks at one point and lost her phone during the terrifying situation. She managed to get to a river and then followed the stream to a gravel path which took her to a beach.  “The sign at the beach was labeled ‘Hiker’s Beach’ and I knew I needed to get to the Gold Creek parking lot which was in the opposite direction, according to the sign," she wrote.  "So, I dragged my feet back to the river and crossed as carefully as possible and followed the path.”

Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Andrei Tanase
Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Andrei Tanase


But things started to slowly take a turn for the worse until it got better. “I began to feel dizzy, and I started to imagine things in front of me when there clearly wasn’t anyone around me,” she wrote in her letter. “I continued to encourage myself to keep moving forward and to not give up yet. It was around 9:15 p.m. when the gravel road ended at the Gold Creek parking lot, and I could see some people in the distance. I waved and immediately, I recognized my parents and I tried to run towards them.” Wang was reunited with her family following a health assessment. She headed back home where she was "finally able to get a good night’s sleep in my bed."

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