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10-year-old girl survives a night alone in forest after being separated from family

About 20 adults immediately began searching for her, but they couldn't find her until she was discovered in a forest.

10-year-old girl survives a night alone in forest after being separated from family
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Kittitas County Sheriff

The disappearance of a child leaves parents engulfed in an ocean of emotions. It is extremely hard when you have to wonder about the wonder about well-being of your child The Mashwani family was spending some time on Fish Lake Road as it reminded them of their home in Afghanistan. On June 6, their little girl, Shunghla, 10, got separated from them. Later, the family found out that she had survived a night alone in an isolated area. Shunghla was found safe and alive and 1.5 miles away from where she was last seen at Cle Elum River Valley, as reported by PEOPLE. 


The Kittitas Sheriff's Department posted on their Facebook page, "Shortly before 2:00 pm on Sunday 6/4/2023, 10-year-old Shunghla Mashwani of Federal Way was reported missing in the Cle Elum River Valley north of the city of Cle Elum in Kittitas County. Her extended family was gathered at the Cathedral Pass Trailhead on Fish Lake Road (FS4330), playing in the woods on the west side of a footbridge over the Cle Elum River."

"When the family walked back across the river to the trailhead parking area to eat lunch, they noticed Shunghla was missing. Around 20 adults in the group immediately went back and started searching." They further wrote, "The Mashwani family came to the U.S. from Afghanistan only two years ago and told searchers they like to spend time in the high backcountry because it reminds them of home. Shunghla told her family and rescuers she found herself suddenly separated and alone when the family was traveling back toward the footbridge and couldn’t find the bridge on her own."


She hiked downstream through the dense forests. She even knew it would be safe and right to follow the river. Luckily, a passerby saw Shunghla and called 911. Though there was "no cell signal in the valley and the family searched for Shunghla for nearly 2 hours before a passerby on a UTV saw the commotion and offered to use the Starlink phone at their cabin on Fish Lake Rd to call 911."

Hereon, the rescue teams tried to locate Shunghla, the "Sheriff’s Deputies launched a search immediately, coordinating with Kittitas County Search & Rescue volunteers. The search area was steep, rugged, and remote, with dense trees and undergrowth cut through by the fast-running Cle Elum River."


Many efforts were made to find the child, as rescue crews and drones were used to locate her. At 3 pm, volunteers were able to find her by chance, only with "minor scrapes." She had moved southwards and 1.5 miles away from the river. However, thanks to the rescue team, she was reunited with her father.

She said, “I was thinking I would go to sleep and wake up and find my mom and dad in the forest. I was thinking, I will find my dad and keep walking in the forest.” She did not even trust the rescue team when they came to save her, “I think they are thieves and they’re gonna steal me,” Shughla told KIRO 7. They had to show her pictures of her parents, only then she agreed to go with them.

As for the rescue team, they said, "She proved an extraordinarily resourceful and resilient 10-year-old." It is true that if not for Shunghla's resourcefulness, it would have been difficult for her to survive.

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