78-year-old woman found alive after week missing in Alps

5th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

A 78-year-old Frenchwoman suffering from Alzheimer's disease who was missing for a nearly week after falling on a walk in an Alpine forest was found alive at the weekend and hospitalised.

"That's enough! No more forests, I don't want to see them anymore. I want to go to a retirement home," Michele Riotton told journalists from her hospital bed in the French Alpine town of Thonon-les-Bains.

Riotton said she remembers having "slipped into a ravine and then falling asleep" while on a walk through a forest after leaving her home in the village of Armoy on Sunday, August 29.

Dressed in a light jacket, she spent six nights out in the open and had nothing to eat the whole time except two biscuits that had been stuffed in a pocket and just rainwater that ran down her face to drink.

"I wasn't afraid," said Riotton. "I thought mostly about the worry I was causing my children and grandchildren."

A two-day search, including a helicopter, had been mounted for Riotton, without success.

A second search was conducted on Saturday, which found her lying at the bottom of a steep ravine in a pile of leaves just 700 metres (half a mile) from her home, suffering from bruises on her hands and dehydration.

"We didn't want to abandon the family, even if it's true deep inside we held little hope of finding her alive. It is a miracle," said resident Patrice Frossard, who complained that the search had been called off too soon.

© 2010 AFP

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