A reclusive Siberian woman was was recently airlifted to the hospital due to leg pain. While this is in and of itself not an earth-shattering headline, the fact that this woman is 70 years old and has spent her life 150 miles away from the nearest village in the Siberian wilderness is noteworthy.
Agafia Lykova's family withdrew to the back woods of Siberia in 1936. There, her deeply religious family lived in isolation until they were discovered by geologists in 1978. According to the regional Russian website Kemoblast, at the time of the 1978 encounter there were five family members remaining, and since then all but Agafia have passed away. Their existence was so isolated that until the geologists stumbled across the family they had no knowledge that Stalin had died, or that World War II had occurred.
Lykova had access to an emergency satellite phone which she used to call for help. The governor of the region mustered the helicopter and had her flown to the medical facility in Tashtagol. The doctors have treated her pain and she will be kept in the hospital for a week.
The story behind her family's move into the back-country began in 1963 under Stalin's tight reign. Her family were part of the religious sect "Old Believers". When Stalin tightened the reigns on religion, her family fled. Agafia was born in the Siberian wilderness and it wasn't until 1978 that she came in contact with people besides her family members. Ever since her father passed away in 1988, her only other human companionship was the master driller from the geological team. He lost a leg 18 years ago from frostbite and moved 100 meters away from Agafia. He has since passed away, leaving her alone again, and a two-week walk away from the nearest people.
Her story has been made into a documentary by British filmmaker Rebecca Marshall, who described Agafia's homestead to The Guardian:
When I finally met Agafia, what surprised me was that rather than feeling like a primitive situation, it felt like arriving in the future – to a world with no technology, the vast forest littered with discarded space junk. It is an incredible and beautiful place.
Lykova’s home is under the flight path of rockets from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, explaining the random space junk Marshall talks about.
The documentary is titled The Forest in Me. It has not yet been released and, according to IMDB, is in pre-production.