In an age when Google has mapped almost the entire world, someone getting lost for any significant amount of time is unthinkable. However, in some cases, even modern technological advances aren’t any help to someone lost in the wilderness.
In the below story, a 15-year-old girl became a living miracle after surviving 12 days alone in the Russian Arctic.
An Adventurous Family
From a nomadic family of reindeer herders, Svetlana Evai, 15, was no stranger to adventures in the wilderness. As a member of a family that embraced nature and the wild, Svetlana had an immense love and appreciation for both. Her life consisted of roaming different parts of the Russian tundra, and increasing her knowledge of how to navigate through the unknown lands full of different and dangerous types of wildlife.
A Promising Offer
Presented with an opportunity to attend a summer camp in the Russian Arctic may not sound appealing to most, but for Svetlana it was a dream come true. Being able to explore the region on her own, without her parents, would offer an unmissable opportunity at independence while doing something she loved.
After a few days at her campsite, she decided to visit her brother who lived miles away. The thought of losing her sense of direction never crossed her mind. After all, she had done this with her family her entire life.
Loss of Direction
Svetlana started her walk both energetic and determined. The excitement of seeing her brother helped her focus as she walked in the direction of where she believed her brother lived. But, as she walked and walked, without a real sense of direction, exhaustion and disorientation consumed her.
Lost In The Arctic
Svetlana decided it would be best to give up on seeing her brother and headed back toward camp. The trouble was, she was disoriented and didn’t know which way was back. Suddenly, the young traveler began to realize that she was lost and alone in the bitter cold wilderness.
It was late summer in the Gydan Peninsula, when the temperature dipped below freezing when the sun went down. As dusk approached, Svetlana’s was still moving in an uncertain direction. She knew time was running out as night drew closer. And the thought of wild animals roaming around her invoked a deep fear of what was to come.
Night Had Come
Svetlana found a place to sit and curled into a ball in her best attempt to stay warm. The dark, moonless night had finally come. As she sat alone in the middle of the arctic wilderness, hungry and scared, she only hoped she would survive the bitter cold and wild creatures lurking around for their next meal.
Waking Up Determined
Managing to get some sleep, most likely due to shear exhaustion, Svetlana woke up determined to finally find her way towards her brother or any sanctuary at that point. But, she would not get home that day or the next …
A Missing Child
When the camp officials realized Svetlana had been missing, they notified her family immediately. They knew that their little girl was at risk of attack by any number of wild animals. After a few days of fruitless searching, they feared the worst.
Thankfully, Svetlana was alive. But her small body, extremely weak from exhaustion and hunger, could not withstand much longer. She survived on wild cranberries, black and red currents, and cloudberries. Though scarce, the sustenance kept her on her feet.
Days had passed. At times, Svetlana thought she couldn’t handle taking even a single step further. Her aching body was telling her to stop and close her eyes and to let go. But, her mind was telling her not to give up, and in her heart she knew that someone would eventually find her.
No More Tears
Svetlana became increasingly weak and frail. The bitter cold had worn her out, and as hopelessness grew inside her she couldn’t even gather enough energy to cry.
Forced To Crawl
Svetlana knew enough that when she saw a dangerous animal, such as a bear or a wolf, she needed to get as low as possible to the ground. The chances of outrunning such a predator were slim at best. But she grew so weak that being on the ground was her only option; she no longer had the strength to walk and could only crawl.
Holding On To Dear Life
Svetlana was on the brink of death. She was struggling to take a single gasp of air, a clear indication that her heart rate was slowing down. As she held onto dear life by a single thread, people were still desperately searching for her, but time was running out.
A skilled rescue team arrived on the remote Gydan Peninsula, one of the most remote spots in the world. After 12 days of searching for Svetlana in the bitter tundra cold, the rescue team, with her uncle, Ivan Eva, could not believe their eyes. There, in the middle of the white, colorless tundra, a small body could be seen.
Airlifted To Hospital
Svetlana was airlifted to hospital by a search helicopter. Despite suffering immensely to the exposure of harsh weather conditions and hunger, medics are in disbelief that ‘her vital organs are safe’. Her blood pressure and heartbeat are stable.’ said Eldar Faradjev, chief doctor of Tazovsky central hospital.
Svetlana’s survival has been hailed as a ‘miracle’ by doctors. During her heartbreaking ordeal, Svetla was soaking wet in the thawing permafrost when she was crawling, suffering major leg and knee injuries. Doctors are in awe of her not losing her legs due to nerve damage, and her astonishingly quick recovery to walk again.
Senior doctor Alexander Bukharov, an expert in polar survival, also reiterated the belief that Svetlana’s survival was a ‘miracle’ when she had been found alive. He said when found, she was in ‘grave’ condition and immensely suffering from exposure, but now she is slowly, but surely gaining her health back.
Survived With Water
Head of the search team, Vitaly Pavlyuchkov said: ‘It helped that there was a lot of water in the tundra, so she had no problem drinking. The Gydan tundra is soaked with water.” If it had not been for the access to clean water, Svetlana would have most certainly died within a few days of being lost.
Will Svetlana Still Seek Adventure?
Although Svetlana has not fully recovered from her terrifying ordeal, she also finds her survival after 12 days in the frigid tundra, a miracle. Many times, during her heart wrenching ordeal, she felt hopeless, and thought she was actually going to die. However, this has not stopped her from loving mother nature, and roaming (with family) through the wild once she regains her health.