An 18-year-old from Washington state who went missing on July 24 was found eight days later in a heavily wooded section of the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle, in what rescuers say is a “miracle.”
Giovanna “Gia” Fuda was last seen on surveillance footage at a coffee shop in Index, Washington, before she disappeared last Friday, ABC News reported.
She left her home in Maple Valley, Washington, without telling her relatives where she was going.
Authorities found her 2008 Toyota Corolla out of gas on Highway 2 the next day in extremely mountainous terrain. Personal items were discovered inside the vehicle, but her phone was turned off.
But after more than one week of searching, authorities had very little to go after until Saturday.
“It’s very rare. It is definitely a miracle, and we are so thrilled that she is OK and made it out of there,” Sgt. Ryan Abbott told reporters. “There has been so much support, and so much interest and people wanting to help. It’s nice to see.”
A search-and-rescue team came across Fuda’s notebook along a deep stream in the woods around 2:45 p.m. The crew eventually followed the stream and found shoes and clothes that belonged to Fuda.
Once the rescuers reached up a steep embankment, they found Fuda two miles from the bottom of the “very steep” ravine.
Medics treated her at the scene and took her to a local hospital, where she is listed as being in stable condition.
Abbott said she had no food on her but was drinking water from the creek.
Officials could not explain why Fuda ended up in the woods, as she was too incoherent at the time of her rescue and could not explain what happened over the past week.
Abbott said authorities have ruled out a possible kidnapping “at least at this point.”
Meanwhile, Fuda’s family is just happy she was found alive and safe.
“It’s a miracle,” family friend Jeff White told Q13 Fox. “God blessed this family today. God blessed this family today for sure.”