Colombia: Missing children found alive 40 days after plane crash in Amazon forest

'A joy for the whole country', said President Gustavo Petro

Colombia plane crash In this photo released by Colombia's Armed Forces Press Office, soldiers and Indigenous men tend to the four Indigenous brothers who were missing after a deadly plane crash, in the Solano jungle, Caqueta state, Colombia | AP

A "magical day" is being celebrated in Colombia, after four children, who went missing after their plane crashed in the Amazon jungle, were found alive after 40 days.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro said that finding the children after weeks of searching was "a joy for the whole country".

Along with children-- siblings aged 13, nine, four and a one-year-old baby—their mother, a pilot and a co-pilot were onboard when the plane crashed on May 1.

The adults including their mother died on the plane. The army had recovered their bodies from the crash site.

A "magical day”, said the the president adding that "they were alone, they themselves achieved an example of total survival which will remain in history."

"These children are today the children of peace and the children of Colombia," said the president.

He also added that the children are now getting the required medical attention. He said he had spoken to their grandfather, who told him that "the mother jungle returned them."

The Cessna 206 aircraft carrying the children along with their mother was flying from Araracuara, in Amazonas province to San Jose del Guaviare, when it issued a mayday alert due to engine failure.

Preliminary information from the civil aviation authority suggested that the children escaped the crash and wandered into the jungle to find help, reported Reuters.

A massive search had began in May and the rescuers had found items including baby's feeding bottle, a hair tie, scissors, and a half-eaten piece of fruit in the forest. With these items recovered came in reports last month that the kids were found alive. Petro said in a tweet last month that children were discovered after "arduous search efforts" by the military.

The Colombian armed officials eventually came across an improvised shelter built with sticks and branches. Reportedly, this had led them to the surviving children.

Later the president retracted his statement and also deleted the tweet, which said the children had been found.

The children belonged to the Huitoto indigenous groups and the community believed that their knowledge of fruits and jungle survival skills would help them. Along with the army, indigenous people also joined the search operations to locate the children. 


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