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Pyotr Tyan-Shanskiy, 1856

Miracle survival as girl, 15, comes ‘back from the dead’ after two weeks lost in Arctic wild

By The Siberian Times reporter
24 August 2018

Svetlana Evai ate unripe berries for 15 days after getting lost in tundra with family fearing she had been attacked by brown bear.

Svetlana Evai, in the middle, pictures soon after she was found in tundra by her uncle. Picture: Investigative Committee

A major search in the north of Gydan peninsula found the schoolgirl alive but needing urgent medical care in a ‘grave’ condition.

She was flown by a search helicopter to a local hospital.

Despite suffering from exposure medics said ‘her vital organs are safe’ and ‘there is no threat to her life’.

'Her blood pressure and heart beat are stable,' said Eldar Faradjev, chief doctor of Tazovsky central hospital.

Late summer temperatures gyrated from 2C to 27C, but the nights were cold and  Svetlana is known to have become wet. 

She survived on wild cranberries, black and red currents, and cloudberries.

Svetlana Evai

Svetlana - from a nomadic reindeer herding family - became lost on the way to find her brother at a camp.

'The girl was discovered alive but she needs medical help,’ announced Elena Demyanova, an official with the Investigative Committee in Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region.

Svetlana - from a nomadic reindeer herding family - became lost on the way to find her brother at a camp some 7km from her home. 

She was at risk from brown bears and polar wolves, say experts.

'When she went missing, people were worried because the bears are roaming very close,’ said one source.

She was ‘constantly trying to find her way back’ but was unable to do so. 

Svetlana in helicopter

Svetlana is being brought to helicopter


She was flown by a search helicopter to a local hospital. 

Senior doctor Alexander Bukharov - an expert in polar survival - said of er being found: ‘It is miracle.’

Head of the search 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. 

'When you walk along the tundra in summer you are almost knee-deep.

'This water is very clean, much cleaner than in pipes. 

'She ate berries, and they are not completely ripe at this time.’


‘Her father and brothers were looking for her, using deer and three sledges.'

Svetlana is known to have injuries to her knees and legs - as if she was forced to crawl at some points. 

Her family searched for her in the remote territory and called in the emergency services after three days. 

She was eventually located by her uncle Ivan Evai - 15 days after going missing. 

Irina Yar, her aunt, said: 'It was a big shock and great joy for us. 

‘Her father and brothers were looking for her, using deer and three sledges (on the wet grassy tundra). 

Gydan tundra

Berries in tundra

Gydan tundra from above. Cloudberries in Gydan tundra. 

‘We looked on foot closer to our camp but did not find any trace.

‘Then Ivan suddenly found her.

‘She was just walking towards him.’

Svetlana is now recovering in hospital in Tazovsky.

Comments (6)

Sveta, you are an amazing human. Please share your story of how you survived with the world and how your family is doing. I'm pretty sure they haven't let you out of their site. Your ancestors were with you and guiding you. YOU WERE NEVER ALONE. Welcome home wise, little women.
Hope, USA
06/09/2018 22:45
Happy ending always cheers fellow human spirits. She can pen her experiences about her survival ordeal! Learning tracking through Pole stars may offset this kind of experience. It is surprising none could find her for so many days. Better revise the strategies adopted in tracing the tracks of missing kids Blessings.
26/08/2018 15:02
Amazing endurance and great survival. A very sweet and brave girl! Cannot imagine what it would be alone in a region infested with bears and wolves! Best wishes.
Ravi Sanku, San Carlos, CA, USA
26/08/2018 11:47
So pleased they found her safe, these tundra kids are tough, with the knowledge to find food when they need it. strong lass!
Cherry, Scotland
25/08/2018 13:13
I think out in the Tundra and Taige is is a fight for survival every day. Already children learn fro ma young age what is edible and eatable. That knowledge and her will to survive for sure brought her back. Suppose a little bit luck for sure was there as well.No bears, no wolves.

Most probably her guardian Angels also worked overtime.
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
25/08/2018 10:31
It lifts my heart that this story has had a happy ending.
Well done Sveta, I am trained to survive but I doubt I could of survived like you did
Alex, Sweden
24/08/2018 22:07

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