A couple have told of their terror spending ten days and nights without food clinging to trees to hide from a brown bear that was trying to eat them.
Anton and Nina Bogdanov had taken a drive to a thermal springs beauty spot when their nightmare started.
Their plans only to stay one night came undone when their Mitsubishi Pajero got stuck in a deep puddle some 11 miles from the hot springs in the Kamchatka region of Siberia, said Nina.
With no mobile coverage, they stayed one night in the stricken vehicle then set off to walk to the tourist base at Banniye Springs in eastern Russia to summon help to free their car.
Knowing there was a threat from bears, the married couple had scrawled “Left for the base. Two people” on their windscreen.
Despite their attempts to lay some metaphorical breadcrumbs, a search party was not launched for days after they went missing.
The couple made it halfway to the base when they realised a large wild beast was creeping up behind them.
“The bear was walking behind us, and we did not notice him straight away, he was absolutely silent,” said Nina.
“My husband was the first to see the predator. At first we scared the bear, and he moved back.
“But then he ran after us.”
They raced 200 yards down a slope towards a river where they climbed a tree.
“The bear nearly killed my husband,” Nina continued.
“I threw my water bottle at the animal to distract him, and Anton managed to climb the tree.”
After two hours the bear lunged into the branches at them, leading the precariously balanced duo to fling their rucksacks in a bid to force it back.
Unfortunately the bags contained their only food, which the bear ate.
“He had all our food and then guarded us closely for two days,” Nina said.
Over the coming two days they took it in turns to sleep and monitor the predator.
“We realised we had no power to stay on the tree, with no food or water,” Nina said.
“But the bear would not leave us alone.”
In a desperate attempt to get down, they tore off branches and shouted and screamed at the bear.
It moved away enough for them to climb down and run into the river, she said.
“I almost drowned there, but Anton finally pulled me out,” Nina continued.
“The bear was behind us, and got carried away by the current a bit.”
They crossed to the other bank where the fear-struck couple were forced to climb a tree again as the hungry bear came close.
In that tree they remained for another two days.
Over the coming six days Nina and Anton slowly made their way back to their car, moving from tree to tree and managing no more than 500 yards a day.
“One of us slept in the branches, the other was the guard,” she said.
They also stopped each other from falling out into the bear’s claws.
Anton said: “We didn’t really sleep.
“We were just hugging each other, it was very cold.”
Some 11 days after their hellish adventure began – one night in the car and ten hiding in the trees – they got back to the vehicle.
It was only on their last night that the bear gave up and went looking for another dinner source.
“As soon as we reached the car, we heard noises of approaching vehicles,” said Nina.
“I started crying from happiness when I saw the cars.”
A rescuer named Artur said he found the couple in their car soon after they had reached the vehicle again.
Four bear attacks on people were registered in Kamchatka in the past year, with two people losing their lives.
The region has some 23,000 wild bears, the largest population of the predators in Russia.