10-year-old girl survives 24 hours in ‘rugged and remote’ Cascade mountains | Washington state

A 10-year-old girl is being praised for surviving on her own for more than 24 hours in the Cascade mountain range in Washington state.

Shunghla Mashwani lost track of her family on Sunday while crossing over a pedestrian bridge at the Cathedral Rock trailhead in the northern part of the Cle Elum River valley. That same day, she was reported missing.

Just before they stopped for lunch, members of her extended family noticed she was missing from their large group. The family’s search for the child was made difficult since communication in the area is extremely limited, with no cell or radio signal.

Twenty adults in the group searched for Shunghla for two hours until a nearby resident came to their aid and called the police.

The Kittitas sheriff’s department immediately deployed a search team consisting of people on the ground, police dogs, drones and helicopters.

The area in which Shunghla was lost was described as “steep, rugged and remote, with dense trees and undergrowth”.

At about 3pm on Monday, two search team volunteers eventually found Shunghla alive with minor injuries, 1.5 miles (2.5km) away from where she was last seen. She was returned safely on an inflatable watercraft to her father.

In a Facebook post, the Kittitas sheriff’s department called Shunghla “an extraordinarily resourceful and resilient 10-year-old”.

“Mashwani hiked downstream through the dense forest and spent the cold night between some trees,” the post read.

Shunghla told her family and rescuers that she got lost when she couldn’t find the footbridge her family used, but “she knew it was the right thing to follow the river”.

“The Sheriff’s Office is deeply thankful for both the result of this search and the tremendous outpouring of assistance and resources that made it possible,” the post added.

Shunghla’s family said they enjoy spending time in the rural and remote backcountry because it reminds them of Afghanistan, which they left for the US two years ago.

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