Russian girls found after week of searching

Two girls who went missing in the Russian Urals more than a week ago have been found alive. Police in the Sverdlovsk region say the girls were discovered in dense forest on the banks of the Malaya Patma river, almost a day's walk from their camp site.

The two young girls together with seven other youngsters arrived at the national park in the Sverdlovsk Region in late July.

The wildlife trek was organised by the Moscow Zoo youth club that encourages young biologists. The pair set off to look for insects they were told to research as part of their assignment but got lost in fog.


We ate berries, and walked and rested. We slept in trees – trees are very old there and covered in moss – that's why it was warm, but still very cold at nights. Sometimes we had to rely on intuition because our compass was not always right. The map was useless because we could not figure out our direction.

Masha Sorokina,
one of the rescued girls

 

Around a hundred rescuers, including the police, servicemen and local residents, were combing the thick Urals forest.

“The rescue efforts were really massive. The Emergencies Ministry officials told me it was the largest ever search and rescue operation. The helicopters and a vehicle with the governmental communication channels helped a lot,” said Irina Matveeva, Masha Sorokina’s aunt.

And it was an emergencies ministry task force that found the 12- and 17-year-olds on the banks of the Malaya Patma river.

“We ate berries, and walked and rested. We slept in trees – trees are very old there and covered in moss – that's why it was warm, but still very cold at nights. Sometimes we had to rely on intuition because our compass was not always right. The map was useless because we could not figure out our direction,” explained Masha Sorokina.

An emergencies ministry helicopter is due to take the girls to the regional capital of Ekaterinburg for a medical check-up before they return home to Moscow.