Colombian authorities announced that four children, including an infant, who survived a plane crash in the Colombian Amazon rainforest, have been rescued after spending 40 days alone. The siblings, aged 13, 9, 4, and 11 months, were found by searchers and are now receiving medical attention. Colombian President Gustavo Petro hailed their survival as an inspiring example and predicted that their remarkable story would become part of history.
The plane crash occurred on May 1 when a Cessna single-engine propeller plane, carrying the Indigenous children and two adults, including their mother, crashed due to engine failure. Despite the crash, the children managed to survive while the bodies of the adults were recovered two weeks later during a search operation. Determined to find the children, the Colombian army and Indigenous volunteers joined forces, and after an extensive search, they were finally located.
Heartwarming photos shared by the Colombian military depicted soldiers and volunteers with the children, wrapped in thermal blankets, showcasing their rescue. A video posted by the Colombian Air Force showed the children being loaded onto a helicopter, which then flew them to the town of San Jose del Guaviare. Further details about their condition and the rescue operation were not provided.
In the midst of challenging conditions characterized by mist and dense foliage limiting visibility, soldiers undertook a search operation for the missing children. To sustain them during the search, boxes of food were dropped from helicopters into the jungle in hopes of providing sustenance.
In the evenings, planes flying above the jungle illuminated the area with flares, aiding the ground search crews. Rescuers also utilized megaphones broadcasting a message recorded by the children’s grandmother, urging them to remain in one location.
Amid the search efforts, rumors circulated concerning the children’s whereabouts. On May 18, President Petro initially tweeted that the children had been found but subsequently deleted the message, attributing it to misinformation from a government agency.
After the successful rescue of the children was confirmed, President Petro revealed that he had initially believed the children had been rescued by one of the nomadic tribes residing in the remote region where the plane had crashed, as these tribes have limited contact with authorities. However, he clarified that the children were actually first discovered by one of the search dogs accompanying the soldiers.
Exact details about the distance between the children and the crash site upon their discovery were not disclosed. However, search teams had been focusing their efforts within a radius of approximately 4.5 kilometers (nearly 3 miles) from the point where the small plane had descended into the forest.
As the search progressed, soldiers uncovered small indications in the jungle that suggested the children were still alive, such as footprints, a baby bottle, diapers, and partially eaten fruit that appeared to have been bitten by humans.
The rescued children belong to the Huitoto people, and authorities noted that the older children in the group possessed some knowledge of survival techniques in the rainforest.
President Petro expressed gratitude to the jungle for preserving the children’s lives, emphasizing that they are now not only children of the jungle but also cherished as children of Colombia.