The family of a missing 16-year-old in Golden Ears Provincial Park spoke for the first time through the RCMP thanking those involved in the search efforts for their daughter.
Search teams from across the Lower Mainland continue to comb a section of the park searching for the teen who went missing on Tuesday, June 27.
So far there have been no signs of Esther Wang, who was one of four people who went for a hike at around 9 a.m. along the East Canyon Trail as part of a youth activity, said Cpl. Julie Klaussner with the Ridge Meadows RCMP.
Search and Rescue efforts will be continuing till dark. https://t.co/xGyl7WHXpX— Ridge Meadows RCMP (@RidgeRCMP) June 29, 2023
The group, who were on a camping trip, hiked to Steve’s Lookout and left at around 2:45 p.m. to head back to their campground.
Around 15 minutes into the hike back the group leader was made aware that Wang had been separated from the group.
“As it is when people get tired at different levels of fitness, the group got a little bit separated and when they stopped to check up and wait for each other, they noticed that Esther had fallen behind and they couldn’t locate her,” explained Klaussner.
The group went back to the viewpoint looking for Wang, but they were not able to find her.
It was then that the group leader went to the entrance of the trail and alerted a park ranger who reported Wang missing to police.
Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue were called out and have been actively searching the park through the night.
Klaussner said Lower Mainland Search and Rescue teams along with the Ridge Meadows RCMP Investigational Support Team have been out searching for Wang coming up to 24 hours – since about 6 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Search and Rescue were really quick in their response, said Klaussner, noting they were already at the park an hour after deployment.
Search teams have been actively searching for Wang in the area of the East Canyon and West Canyon Trails and up to the lookout points.
Upwards of 45 Search and Rescue resources have been deployed, added Klaussner, including a helicopter.
Klaussner said the terrain can be tough to navigate for some, but it is a well-used trail.
She confirmed the plan was for search crews to keep looking for Wang up until dark, when the situation will be assessed based on information available at that time.
Those currently involved in the search for Wang are thankful for the public’s support but cautioned people who also want to take part.
Klaussner reminded people that although the trail remains open, that there is an ongoing search by teams who are properly equipped and well-trained.
A police drone has also been deployed to assist with search efforts.
Wang is carrying a cell phone, however, police say, that due to the remote area and lack of cell reception the pings have been negative.
Because there is no cell phone reception in the park, said Klaussner, using different technologies to find Wang is difficult.
“In this instance they are making every effort to use any technology available to continue with the search, but they’re very much reliant, at this point, of boots on the ground and resources of people actually actively doing the searches,” she said.
Wang is described as Asian, five foot three inches, with a slim build. She has long black hair and at the time of her disappearance she was wearing black leggings, a black jacket, a navy blue baseball hat and she was carrying a blue, red, and white backpack.
The group, police say, was prepared for their hike and Wang was carrying water and food.
Wang is also an experienced outdoor enthusiast as a member of the 746 Lightning Hawk Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron from Langley.
Anyone hiking in the area who has any information about Wang that could assist the search efforts are being asked to call the Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251.
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