Colombia: Four children survived an Amazon plane crash that killed three adults and wandered for 40 days in the wild before being discovered alive by Colombian soldiers.
The news of their rescue on Friday provided a happy climax to a saga that had captivated many Colombians, a rollercoaster ride as rescuers frantically searched the rainforest for the children.
The kids were located after “arduous search efforts” by the military, according to Colombian President Gustavo Petro in a tweet on Wednesday. “A joy for the country!” he declared.
Earlier on Wednesday, Colombian military forces stated that search efforts had been stepped up after rescuers discovered an “improvised shelter built with sticks and branches,” prompting them to suspect there were survivors. However, no reports from the Colombian military confirmed the children’s findings.
The four children, ages thirteen, nine, four, and an 11-month-old infant, are believed to have travelled through the jungle in the southern Caqueta Department since the crash on May 1.
Soldiers discovered the remains of the pilot and two adults who had been flying from a jungle area to San Jose del Guaviare, one of Colombia’s largest cities in the Amazon rainforest, on Monday and Tuesday. Because the location has few roads and is difficult to reach by water, tiny planes are commonly used for transportation.
Ranoque Mucutuy, one of the deceased passengers, was the mother of the four children, who are of Huitoto ethnicity.
Three helicopters were used to assist in the search, one of which broadcast a recorded message from the children’s grandmother in Huitoto instructing them to halt going through the forests.
The “Operation Hope” search was hampered by giant trees that may grow up to 40 metres (131 feet) tall, wild animals, and frequent rain.
The reason for the air crash has not been revealed by authorities.
According to the Colombian disaster response agency, the pilot reported engine problems just minutes before the aircraft vanished from radar.
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