Family shares details on how 10-year-old survived being lost in the Cascades for 24-hours

Crews in an inflatable raft bringing a lost 10-year-old back to her family

The Kittitas Sheriff’s Department released new details on Tuesday on how a Federal Way 10-year-old survived being lost overnight in the Cascades near the Cle Elum River.

On Sunday afternoon, 10-year-old Shunghla Mashwani of Federal Way was reported missing after hiking with her family in the Cle Elum River Valley. Around 2 p.m., her extended family was near the Cathedral Pass Trailhead on Fish Lake Road, in the Cle Elum River Valley, north of Cle Elum.

While her family crossed the footbridge over the river to get to the trailhead parking area to eat lunch, they noticed Shunghla was missing.

Around 20 adults went back to look for her. As her family searched for nearly two hours, a passerby on a UTV offered the use of his Starlink phone at their cabin to call 911.

Deputies with the Kittitas County Sheriff launched an immediate search, along with Kittitas County Search and Rescue volunteers. Volunteers across the state quickly joined the search and brought their resources.

At about 3 p.m. Monday, two volunteers found Shunghla alive, with only minor scrapes.

Shunghla had traveled 1.5 miles from where she was last seen, down the west side of the river.

A Snohomish County Swiftwater crew used their inflatable rescue watercraft to bring her to safety, where she was reunited with her father.

Her family came to the United States from Afghanistan two years ago. Family told searchers they liked to spend time in the high backcountry because it reminded them of home.

Shunghla told family and rescuers that when she found herself separated and alone and she couldn’t find the bridge on her own. She said she hiked downstream through the forest and spent the cold night between some trees.

Shunghla told rescuers she thought it was the right thing to follow the river.

Rescuers said Shunghla had proved to be an “extraordinarily resourceful and resilient 10-year-old.”

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