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Missing woman ate azaleas in wilderness to survive

A missing woman in her 20s returned home safely to her family after a full week, having survived in the wilderness by eating azaleas, Busan Metropolitan Police Agency said Tuesday.

The woman, surnamed Kim, and her mother were taking out the trash on March 26 when Kim suddenly disappeared, with her phone having dropped on the stairway.

Kim’s mother told police that Kim was barefoot at the time and had a purple cloth over her head.


(Busan Metropolitan Police Agency)
(Busan Metropolitan Police Agency)

The last place she was seen was near Busan University of Foreign Studies in Geumjeong district, Busan. Police had initially suspected she was kidnapped because they had found her blanket.

Police and a relative of the missing woman were conducting a search party near the north gate of the mountain Geumjeongsan when they found her at 4:10 p.m., Tuesday.

At the time, Kim complained of discomfort in her legs, but otherwise appeared relatively healthy, according to police.

One police officer, however, added that because she could not eat or wash properly for quite some time, she looked “extremely bony and her face blackened from dirt.”

Kim said she survived by “taking cover from the cold, sleeping under a big rock near the river valley and eating azaleas.”

Police plan to further question Kim as to her whereabouts during the period after she receives proper medical attention.

By Catherine Chung (cec82@heraldcorp.com)
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