“A joy for the whole country! The 4 children who were lost 40 days ago in the Colombian jungle appeared alive,” Colombian President Gustavo Petro wrote in a message on Twitter.
Previously, Colombian army sources had confirmed the news to the Reuters agency and local media.
According to the newspaper El Tiempo, “the military forces found the four children with signs of dehydration and insect bites. However, they are fine and are already being transferred by helicopter to San José del Guaviare, where they will be treated by doctors.
The four children – brothers of 4, 9 and 13 years old, and one of 11 months – were accompanied on the trip by their mother and two other adults, who died as a result of the accident.
The accident occurred on May 1. When the authorities arrived at the scene of the accident, they only found the lifeless bodies of the adults. There was no trace of the children, so an intense search began by members of the army and indigenous people, which culminated in the discovery of the children.
Colombian radio station Caracol reports that the four children are with members of the National Army who will hand them over to the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, where their state of health will be verified.
The minors are Soleiny Mucutuy (9 years old), Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutuy (4 years old), Lesly Mucutuy (13 years old) and Cristin Neriman Ranoque Mucutuy (11 months old).
The children were traveling in a small plane that suffered an accident on May 1 when it was covering the Araracuara – San José del Guaviare route with seven people on board, including the pilot.
Among the fatalities of the accident was Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia, mother of the minors.
The pilot had reported engine problems minutes before the plane disappeared from radar, Colombia’s disaster response agency said.
The jungle region where the plane crashed has few roads and is difficult to access by water, so air transport is common.
To search for the minors, the national government ordered the participation of more than 150 uniformed officers, who had the help of indigenous communities.
traces of life
Efforts to find the children intensified in mid-May after rescuers found a “makeshift shelter made of sticks and branches” which led them to believe there were survivors.
In images released by the Colombian military, scissors and a hair tie could be seen among the dense vegetation of the jungle.
They also found a bottle and half-eaten fruit in an area far from where the plane fell.
“We assume that the children who were inside the aircraft are alive. We have found some traces in a different and distant position from where the aircraft was left (…) We also found a possible place where the children could have taken refuge and we continue the search, “said an army spokesperson on May 18.