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Search underway for B.C. teen missing on trail

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A search effort has been launched for a 16-year-old who went missing after becoming separated from her group while out hiking on a B.C. trail.

Esther Wang went hiking in Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge with a group of four as part of a “youth activity” Tuesday morning, police say.

The group hiked the East Canyon Trail to Steve’s Lookout, and left the viewpoint at around 2:45 p.m. to return to their campground, according to Ridge Meadows RCMP.

About 15 minutes into the walk back to the campsite, the group’s leader realized Wang had become separated from the group.

Police say the hikers went back to the lookout to search for Wang, but couldn’t find her.

Maple Ridge Search and Rescue was called in and searched throughout the night. Neighbouring search and rescue teams have also joined the effort, and police drone has been deployed.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ridge Meadows RCMP told reporters the search effort is still ongoing, with upwards of 45 volunteers from various search and rescue teams and a helicopter deployed. Police said the search would continue until dark Wednesday.

“While, as in this case, the area is used for recreational hiking, areas off the hiking trails can be treacherous with steep terrain and thick vegetation,” Maple Ridge Search and Rescue said in a statement to CTV News.

“Esther is carrying a cell phone, however, due to the remote area and lack of cell reception the pings have been negative,” a Wednesday news release from Ridge Meadows RCMP reads.

Police say Wang was well-prepared for the hike and had water and food with her.

Wang is described as Asian and 5’3" tall with a “slim build.” She has long black hair and was last seen wearing black leggings, a black jacket and a navy blue baseball hat. She was carrying a blue, red and white backpack.

Anyone who was out hiking in the area or has any information that could assist with the search is asked to call Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251.

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