OITA – A 2-year-old girl who went missing Monday in Oita Prefecture was found safe Tuesday in a mountainous area about 2 km from where she disappeared, police said.
Koyomi Tokunaga, who sustained only minor scratches, was conscious but was transported to a hospital as a precaution.
Relatively warm weather apparently helped the toddler survive her night outdoors.
Police and firefighters had continued searching for the girl Tuesday morning, dispatching about 150 officers.
The search area included fields in the city of Saiki where the girl was last seen at around 1 p.m. Monday when she was with her mother. Her family was working in the fields when they realized she was missing.
A man who works with the girl’s father who had been helping with the search found her huddled on a slope at around 9:50 a.m.
The girl disappeared following a visit to her relatives’ house with her mother and grandmother on Monday. The mother immediately called the police when she realized the girl was missing.
Police sent a helicopter and canine units to search the mountainous area, which is dotted with houses and has a river running nearby. But with no progress as of midnight, the search was suspended until 7 a.m. Tuesday.
Weather in Saiki was mostly sunny on Monday night and Tuesday. The temperature was as low as 10.1 C at around 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday, higher than average December lows of about 6 degrees, according to a local meteorological observatory.
Reiko Sato described her granddaughter as “active” after she apparently walked about 2 km on her own. The girl was found with mud on her shoes, Sato said.
“I want to thank the police and the people who took part in the search,” she said.
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