A WOMAN is feared to have been eaten alive by a pack of wild bears after becoming lost in a forest when she reportedly stormed off from a wedding.
Yana Balobanova, 24, made desperate emergency calls from her mobile to say she was lost in a remote part of Sverdlovsk, Russia – but rescuers were unable to find her.
Teams used trained sniffer dogs in a bid to track her trail – but the search animals became agitated when her path crossed with the smell of multiple brown bears, according to reports.
Footprints from several beasts were also spotted – leading to fears Yana was attacked and killed.
Yana was at a friend’s small wedding party, held in the forest near Severouralsk, when she reportedly had a row with another guest – prompting her to leave alone and find her way out of the thick trees.
Search efforts have continued for more than a month since she went missing – but no trace of her or her remains have been discovered.
Wildlife inspector Andrei Sakulin: said: “It is no longer possible to hope that the woman will be found alive.”
There were footprints of a mother bear and cubs which meant the spot was “very dangerous for humans”, he said.
“If a person accidentally finds themselves between a bear and her cubs, the predator can attack immediately and harshly, without growls and warnings,” Mr Sakulin added.
“Bears attack with lightning speed, up to 60kph (37mph) – so it is impossible to run away.
‘“At this time of year male bears also behave aggressively.”
Yana’s remains may have been buried by bears, it was reported.
Her distraught father Yakov Balobanov told E1: “The dogs reached a certain place in the forest and came very close to the handler’s feet.”
He added that they were fearful of bears nearby and it is “possible a bear got her” as she had no experience of surviving alone in the forest.
After leaving the wedding celebrations, Yana called the emergency services once in the evening, and a second time early the following morning – but then her calls stopped and there was no trace of her after.
A video shows rescuers searching for Yana and calling her name.
Natalia Volkova, head of Proryv volunteer search squad, said: “We came across an old man who was picking berries in the forest.
“He remembered her because he was surprised to see a young woman there all alone.
“Search dogs picked up her smell but it has not led to anything yet.