Teenager who went missing in mountains for eight days after running out of petrol found alive

A teenager who vanished last month after she ran out of petrol has been found alive in a remote section of the Cascade Mountains in the US.

King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ryan Abbott said it was a “miracle” that 18-year-old Giovanna Fuda was discovered on Saturday after a week-long search.

Mr Abbott said she likely survived by drinking water from a creek, but she had no food with her and he was not sure what she ate.

Police released this images of Giovanna that was taken before she ran out of gas. Pic: King's County Sheriff's Office
Image:Police released this image of Ms Fuda that was taken before she ran out of petrol. Pic: King County Sheriff’s Office

“She’s in stable condition,” Mr Abbott said. “This is a remarkable ending.”

Ms Fuda was last seen on 24 July when she left her home in the Seattle suburb of Maple Valley without telling her parents where she was going.

Her car was found abandoned the next night near a mountain pass roughly two hours northeast of Maple Valley.

“We don’t know why she was up there,” her father Bob Fuda told NBC affiliate KING-TV.

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Authorities said the car, a 2008 Toyota Corolla, had run out of petrol.

Her purse was still in the vehicle but her mobile phone was gone. The King County Sheriff’s Office initially described her disappearance as “suspicious”.

Giovanna's red jacket was left inside her car before her disappearance. Pic: King County Sheriff's Office
Image:Ms Fuda’s red jacket was left inside her car before her disappearance. Pic: King County Sheriff’s Office

Mr Abbott said the area was a dead zone for mobile phone service so it was difficult to trace her location through her phone’s GPS.

Dense brush also made it impossible to search with a helicopter, he said.

On Saturday, after a bloodhound tracked her scent more than a mile down the highway, a search and rescue team trekking up a ravine and following a creek found her notebook, shoes and clothing, Mr Abbott said.

They eventually found her too, a few miles from her car, he added.

Police released this poster after Giovanna went missing. Pic: King County Sheriff's Office
Image:Police released a poster after Ms Fuda went missing. Pic: King County Sheriff’s Office

She was alert and conscious but incoherent.

“We don’t know how she got up in that area,” Mr Abbott said, adding that she may have turned around while walking to get petrol.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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