Missing 5yo girl rescued in Russia after spending NEARLY THREE DAYS alone in a forest (VIDEO)
Five-year-old Zarina Avgonova disappeared around 2pm on Sunday. Reports say she may have wandered off from the village of Stepanovka in Nizhny Novgorod Region, 460km from Moscow, to a forest nearby while looking for relatives who went mushroom picking.
Rescue teams first searched the village. Then more than 800 people, many of whom were volunteers, began searching the woods, as divers examined several lakes and the Sarma River. The forest was hit by a thunderstorm with heavy rain on the first night of the operation, hampering their efforts. The fog was another problem. “The fog makes it hard to search during the night – it doesn’t go away until sunrise,” one of the volunteers said.
It was also feared that the girl, who had only been wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and rain boots, was exposed to the cold at night. She could also have been attacked by wild animals. In fact, a bear appeared in the area at one point, prompting the rescue teams to leave the forest. Helicopters and drones were then called in to cover more ground, and search dogs and heat sensing cameras were also used.
A glimmer of home appeared on Tuesday, when Zarina’s footprints were found near a blueberry bush. Locals said the girl might not respond to men because she is afraid of strangers, so in order to not scare her, the rescue parties had only female rescuers calling out her name. They also used recordings of her mother and grandmother.
After being missing for more than three days, Zarina was finally discovered on Wednesday evening. A video from the scene shows the search party patrolling with flashlights in the pitch black forest until they finally track down the little blonde girl, who remained rather quiet as she was being rescued. Initial reports indicate that she was unharmed but severely exhausted.
“When the team found the girl, she was quite active and conscious,” the coordinator of one of the search parties, Nadezhda Yermolayeva, said. “She asked for sweets. She said she wanted ‘some water and cake.’”
The girl was apparently wandering in the forest alone and was about 2km from her village. She was airlifted away to receive medical assistance.
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