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A toddler has miraculously survived three nights alone in a dense Russian forest where wild bears and wolves roam.
Little Lyuda Kuzina, who will be two in the autumn, wandered away from her mother as she played in her unfenced garden.
Some 500 searchers joined a massive rescue effort for the girl near Obninsk in Smolensk region, and hope was fading when she was suddenly found alive.
Lyuda, the 22-month-old daughter of a nuclear physicist, was eventually located in the thick forest around two-and-a-half miles from her home.
“One of the groups stopped to rest after searching for a long time, and suddenly they heard a faint squeak,” said a spokesman for SALVAR rescue group.
"They called again.
“And heard another squeak.
“Lyuda immediately stretched out her thin arms and snuggled tightly to her rescuers….
“Everyone cried – experienced and first time volunteers, local residents, everyone was sobbing.”
She was found in an area of fallen trees amid forest where wild animals including brown bears and wolves roam.
Temperatures at night were unusually warm, around 20C, which helped her astonishing survival.
‘Little Lyuda was found in a windbreak, where she had wandered after several days of going alone through the forest.
“She was weak, bitten all over by insects, but most importantly she was alive.”
A video shows the girl as she was reunited with her relieved mother at the search HQ.
She was well enough to drink from a water bottle on her own.
The girl was shown wearing nothing on top, but reports did not say what she wore when she wandered into the forest.
Her mother – not named in reports – had gone to speak to a neighbour, and Lyuda’s elder had followed her.
The little girl went after them but somehow became lost.
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“Rescuers carried the girl to the edge of the forest,” said the Kremlin’s children’s ombudswoman Anna Kuznetsova.
“An ambulance was already waiting for her there.
“Now the baby is in a local hospital, she is being examined by doctors.
“She is conscious, and trying to speak.”
Lyuda was taken for checks at Special Children's Clinical Hospital in regional capital Smolensk.
A helicopter had been on standby to fly her for urgent treatment in Moscow, but her condition was assessed as not needing a top hospital in the capital.
Regional health minister Olga Stunzhas said: “The child's condition today is assessed as moderate, and there is no threat to her life.”
The girl is on an intravenous drip to boost her strength.”
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