Woman who spent days in forest alone at the age of six shares how she survived

A woman who survived the wilderness alone at just six years old says she owes it to her imaginary friend who "kept her calm".

Haley Zega, 27, got lost as a child whilst on a hike with her grandparents and friends in the Ozark Mountains, Arkansas, .

She became separated from her grandparents - Jay and Joyce Hale - near a waterfall and took the wrong path, leaving her "immediately alone" without food, water and shelter.

Haley spent the next 52 hours trying to navigate her way out of the huge Ozark National Forest aided only by her imaginary friend, Alicia - while 1,000 people looked for her.

She trekked along the Buffalo River hoping it would lead to a bridge and eventually a town – sleeping out in the open.

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After two days without food or water, Haley was rescued by two men - William Jeff Villines and Lytle James - who carried her on the back of their mules to safety.

Haley, an actress from Fayetteville, Arkansas, US, said: "I've never really been a panicker and in extreme life or death situations I'm calm and in problem-solving mode and that's how I felt throughout. From the minute I was lost I had this imaginary friend, Alicia, who kept me calm and on task and was nothing but a positive presence for me whilst I was missing."