A 14-year-old girl who got lost while picking berries in a Siberian forest was reunited with her family on Sunday (30 July) after almost a week. According to RT News, initial reports revealed that the berries helped Yana Tomacheva survive the six days in the woods. She also managed to hold her own against mosquitoes and midges. She was even safe from the bears that frequent the area.
She disappeared on Monday (24 July) after she went along with her mother and older sisters to pick berries. They went in different directions and when Tomacheva did not return in the evening, the family raised an alarm.
Hundreds of rescuers and volunteers searched the thick Krasnoyarsk region trying to locate the girl in a massive six-day operation. Dozens of locals also joined the search.
"The more people are involved, the bigger chances are of finding a person," the head of the "Search for missing children" group who organised the volunteer units, said.
"The grass is tall and it's almost impossible to see a person from above. Even if she lays two metres from you, you wouldn't notice her," the leader added.
The combing operation involved more than 230 police officers, National Guard personnel, the military and volunteers.
Around 17 vehicles were used to search the dense taiga forest and the land along the river. A helicopter, drones and a gyroplane were also deployed for the search operation.
Tomacheva, who is safe, was found extremely exhausted. She will be taken to a hospital in Krasnoyarsk, the regional emergencies ministry's spokeswoman was quoted saying by local media.
"She got lost near village of Chindat. It's a pretty remote area, forest there is like a wall," rescue personnel said at the time. "It is enough to walk 10 kilometres and not see anything," the police said, according to RT News.
There were many obstacles during the search operation. During the first two days, due to rain, search dogs lost the track of the girl in the mud.
Nikolay Alin, head of the Chindat village administration, told local media that Tomacheva wasn't familiar with the woods. He said that around this time of the year there were very few berries and mushrooms to be found in the area.
In 2014, a three-year-old girl survived sleeping for 11 nights in a wolf- and bear- infested Siberian forest by cuddling her pet puppy. The puppy was the one who saved the girl's life by bringing rescuers to find her.
Over 100 people were engaged in the search, which also involved helicopters and drones which were unable to see Karina Chikitova because she was hiding in long grasses.
After more than a week, her puppy ran home and rescuer Afanasiy Nikolayev described how he feared the worst. "Two days before we found Karina her puppy came back home. If she was to hug her puppy, we thought, this would have given her a chance to stay warm during nights and survive."