The Siberian wilderness is known for its dense population of bears and its freezing night-time temperatures, so people avoid venturing out too deep in the forest. That’s why this story is so remarkable.
After being lost for nearly two weeks in the forest in the Russian far north with only her puppy to defend her, 4-year-old Karina Chikitova was found emaciated but alive, having survived 11 days in the Siberian wilderness in what rescuers said was nothing short of a miracle.
According to media reports, the little girl had left her tiny village with her dog, to go and stay with her father who lived in a neighboring hamlet. But her father had gone to fight a wildfire and the girl apparently set off by herself into the forest to find him.
With no mobile phone signal in the sparsely populated region where native Yakut people live, her mother only realized after four days that her daughter was lost in the dense forest.
Despite a massive search, Karina was not found. After 11 days, rescuers had lost hope. Then the unthinkable happened. Her puppy returned to the village, in which only eight people live, and started barking non-stop.
Rescuers were alerted and immediately sent search dogs on the puppy’s trail. The search party kept to creeks and meadows, going into the forest only in the presence of special forces because there are so many bears in the area. The mission was to recover her body. But they were about to witness a miracle.
The search team came across Karina’s footprints and found her lying in tall grass about four miles north of her village. She had lost her shoes and was walking barefoot and had lost a considerable amount of weight.
“It was a miracle,” rescuer Afanasiy Nikolayev told the Zvezda TV channel. “We were sure that the puppy was next to the little girl all this time, warming her at night and scaring away wild animals.”
“She didn’t say a thing… she just cried quietly and reached out her arms,” Artyom Borisov, a volunteer told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. “She asked for water and food right away.”
“It’s simply incredible that she was found safe with so much wildlife in the forest,” a spokesman of the regional rescue service told the paper.
She said she ate berries and drank water from the river to survive.
Authorities said Karina was taken to the main regional hospital in the city of Yakutsk where she fully recovered and is now back with her mother.
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