Rescuers Find Five-Year-Old Girl Who Went Missing In Forest For Three Nights
Zarina Avgonina got lost in thick woodland in the Nizhny Novgorod region after following her grandmother, who was going to pick wild mushrooms.
Search parties and dogs were subsequently deployed to help find Zarina, but after days without a trace and plenty of heavy downpour, it was feared she may have drowned in a ravine. On top of this, there were concerns the girl may have been eaten by bears, as track marks were discovered near where she went missing.
As such, armed hunters were also deployed in the search, keeping a lookout for both bears and wolves, which are known to prowl the area.
But last night (21 August) - as hope was beginning to be lost - Zarina's footprints were spotted and they eventually found Zarina hidden among the foliage. Remarkably, Zarina said she was not frightened when she was eventually rescued - but she did have an appetite.
A rescuer called Alexey, seen carrying her in his arms, said: "The most interesting thing is we asked her: 'Are you scared?'
"And she says: 'No! I'm just thirsty and want to eat cake. And go home!'"
But before Zarina could go home she was wrapped in foil, to keep her warm, and was taken to the district hospital in Voznesensk, where she was cared for overnight.
A local health ministry spokesman said: "The child is in a serious but stable condition. She has severe dehydration."
Zarina had also sustained extensive mosquito bites, having spent several days in the wet woodland wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and shorts. She was ultimately found around one mile from the village of Stepanovka, from where she originally went missing.
The challenge of tracking down Zarina was exacerbated further by the fact she was said to be 'scared of men'. This meant that only women in the search parties could call for her, as they feared the shouts of men may scare her away.
Zarina's mother herself was unable to help with the search as she was in hospital, poised to give birth to another child. However, she was recorded calling for Zarina and this was played out in the woodland.
Zarina is due to be transferred today (22 August) to a regional hospital in Nizhny Novgorod city.
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