French grandmother survives six days after falling down Alpine ravine
September 7, 2010 Leave a comment
A 78-year-old French grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease survived for nearly a week after falling down a ravine on a walk in an Alpine forest before being found.
Michele 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 August 29.
(Michele Riotton aged 78 answers questions from her hospital bed in Thonon-les-Bains Photo: AFP)
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. She kept herself warm by covering herself with leaves.
“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 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.
Mrs Riotton, speaking from her hospital bed in the French Alpine town of Thonon-les-Bains, said she had now had enough of forests and wanted to “go to a retirement home”.