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Japanese hiker lost in Nepal ate plants for 13 days

Japanese citizen from Tokyo, Makiko Iwafuchi, 49, gestures during a news conference in Kathmandu June 10, 2011 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Apart from some insect bites, Makiko Iwafuchi is in good health

A Japanese hiker who got lost in Nepal's mountains has told journalists how she survived for almost two weeks by eating plants and praying.

Makiko Iwafuchi said she strayed from the main trekking path on 25 May while hiking near Gosainkunda lake, north of Kathmandu.

The 49-year-old, from Tokyo, walked for days, looking for other people before taking shelter.

Local villagers found her 13 days later in a small cave.

"When I heard the people, the sound, of course it felt like a miracle, I praised God and I praised all the people," she said.

Ms Iwafuchi said she had taken a short stroll from her hotel when she got lost, just 500m (1,600ft) from the trail.

Local police and soldiers began a search a day after she went missing, but found no trace of her.

"For two days, I didn't move. I stayed in a small cave. I thought about the food I would like to eat when I got back," she told reporters in Kathmandu.

"I ate leaves, bamboo shoots and drank a lot of water."

She then walked for days, taking shelter in small caves and under rocks, covering herself with leaves.

"I prayed if I survived, I would change. I would be kind to people and more generous," she said.

"From now on, I won't trek alone. I've learned a lesson from this experience."

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