1-Year-Old Toddler Survives After Spending 3 Nights Lost in Forest Alone

A Russian toddler, just 22 months of age, has been found after wandering away from her family and spending three lone nights in the woods.

According to the Moscow Times, Lyudmila Kuzina—known as Lyuda—disappeared last Tuesday in the Smolensk region, west of Moscow. She was following her mother and sister to their neighbor's house when she went missing.

The incident bears a remarkable resemblance to a similar case, in 2016, when 3-year-old Russian toddler Tserin Dopchut became lost in the Siberian wilderness for three days. Dopchut reportedly survived by eating a single chocolate bar that he happened to be carrying at the time. Despite the area's frigid temperatures, Dopchut was dressed only in a shirt and shoes and did not have a coat.

In both cases, the young toddlers were lost in the Russian wilderness and for similar amounts of time. However, unlike Dopchut, Kuzina did not have any food or water during her three days in the forest, reported the BBC—making her survival all the more remarkable.

Forest Outside Moscow
Although she had no food or water, a Russian toddler survived for three days in a forest near Moscow before being rescued. The edge of a forest outside Moscow, 2018. YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

After Kuzina went missing on Tuesday, a massive search effort, involving 400 volunteers, police, and divers who searched nearby bodies of water, swept through the region. But it wasn't until almost four days into the search that Kuzina was found.

When a group of search volunteers stopped to take a break about two-and-a-half miles from Kuzina and her family's home, they reportedly heard an unusual squeaking sound—originating, it turned out, from Kuzina herself.

"It was only on the fourth day when they heard a 'squeak' that they found her in some branches under a tree," said the girl's mother, Antonina Kuzina, according to the BBC.

Upon being found, Kuzina "immediately stretched out her thin arms to cling tightly to her rescuers," noted the rescue group Salvar, reported the Moscow Times. She was "weakened, bitten by insects, but most importantly alive!"

"The entire HQ was sobbing. Both volunteers hardened by experience and first-timers who answered the call for the first time, as well as local residents, were crying," added Salvar.

Kuzina was taken to the ICU on Friday, but she has since been transferred to another part of the hospital on Saturday. And, despite her young age, the nearly-2-year-old Kuzina appears to have learned an important lesson from the ordeal.

"She's quite adamant she'll never run away from Mum again," said her mother, Antonina, reported the BBC. "Although quite how long she'll remember that promise, I have no idea. But at least she says so."