Siberian Hermit Who Has Been Cut Off From The World Is Airlifted To Hospital To Save Her From The Cold
- Agafya Lykova’s family have lived in a cabin in Siberian forest since 1936
- Her family fled to the mountains for fear of persecution by Stalin’s regime
- Agafya grew up without metal, pots, cutlery – and had to hunt for her food
- She was forced to face 21st Century after developing extreme pain in leg
Agafya Lykova’s family home in the Siberian wilderness was so isolated, World War II came and went without them ever knowing about it.
Her family fled to the snow covered forest, 100 km from the nearest town, 80 years ago and all but Agafya died there.
Now, aged 71, she has come face to face with the 21st Century world they shunned, when she fell terribly ill and needed a helicopter to fly her to hospital.
She was airlifted to Kemerovo, an industrial city in Oblast, after developing a horrible pain in her leg caused by the bitter cold.
She arrived at Tashtagol Hospital carrying fresh water from the spring that runs by her cabin and clutching her many religious icons.
One source told local media: ‘She feels better. The doctors managed to control the pain. She is expected to stay at the hospital for examinations and more treatment for a week.’
Agafya’s devoutly religious parents escaped to the wilderness in 1936, fearing persecution from Russian dictator Josef Stalin’s Communist government.
She was born and grew up at the cabin but gradually all of her relatives died, leaving her as the only survivor of the family of five.
The family’s riverside cabin sits 150m high up a remote mountain in the Abakan Range, in south-western Siberia.
Her early life was barbarically difficult. She grew up without metal, pots or cutlery, and often had nothing to eat but what she could catch in temperatures that plummeted down to minus 40 degrees Celsius.
For the first 35 years of her life, Agafya had no contact with anyone outside her family.
It was only in 1978 that a group of geologists accidentally stumbled across the family, with scientists reporting that Agafya spoke a strange language, ‘distorted by a lifetime of isolation’.
Gradually, she came into contact with local authorities, but refused to leave her home despite the hardships.
Her home is frequently raided by hungry foxes and bears looking for food but officials expect her to still go home when she leaves hospital.
In the past, her family has been so hungry and desperate that they were once forced to eat their own shoes.
Once the family were discovered they continued to live in the wilderness and – apart from simple things such as salt, knives, forks and handles – they continued to reject the modern world.
Kemerovo region governor Aman Tuleyev makes sure he receives regular updates on her wellbeing, delivering cabbage, flour, grapes and her favourite oranges to her home.
Vladimir Makuta, head of Tashtagolskyi district, said: ‘It is important for us to know she has everything she needs, that she’ll live another winter and will have food.’