A five-year-old girl has been missing for three nights in a Russian forest after being stalked by a bear.
Zarina Avgonina was trying to follow her grandmother who went out to collect wild mushrooms.
The rescuers and search dogs failed to find the little girl after struggling for more than 72 hours. But finally, they spotted Zarina’s footprints in the recent wild brown bear pawprints.
“Their paths had crossed,” said one rescuer.
According to reports, the little girl is quite shy of men and said to be “scared of men.” The hunt included volunteers with women in each group used to call her name as they had a fear she would hide from men.
Her mother couldn’t take part in the hunt as she was about to give birth. The recordings of her mother calling her name were played so the girl comes out wherever she was hidden.
Armed hunters were called in to keep the prowling bear at bay in a forest where wolves also roam. On the fourth day of girl’s missing, the rescue team found a “frightened” girl’s brown eyes looking out from a pile of twigs and branches.
Zarina was safe when she rescued but was suffering from exhaustion and severe dehydration. She was bitten by mosquitoes.
Searcher Svetlana Shuga, a local newspaper reporter, is heard saying: “Silence, guys, don’t scream, let me call her.”
Rescuers asked her to come out of her hiding place but she was so scared that she stayed there but eventually the rescuer team managed to take her out.
“Go to the child carefully,” says one.
Another tells Zarina: “We saved you.”
When she came out they covered her in foil to keep her warm. A rescuer named Alexey, seen carrying the girl in his arms, said: “The most interesting is we asked her ‘Are you scared?’
“And she says: ‘No! I’m just thirsty and want to eat cake and go home!’’
Rescuers offered her food and water and she finished it as she was so hungry. She was taken to the district hospital in Voznesensk.
A local health ministry spokesman said: ’The child is in a serious but stable condition.’’
“She has severe dehydration.”