“A miracle” in Colombia: four children found alive after 40 days in the jungle

“A miracle” in Colombia: four children found alive after 40 days in the jungle

2023-06-10 09:01:30

“A miracle”, “a joy for the whole country!” “. After wandering on their own for 40 days in the Colombian Amazon jungle, the four children aged 13, 9, 4 and one-year-old survivors of the crash of the small plane in which they were traveling, were found alive.

“The four children lost 40 days ago in the Colombian jungle have been found alive,” President Gustavo Petro announced in a post on Twitter accompanied by a photo of soldiers and indigenous people participating in the operation to find the siblings.

Army rescuers “immediately cared for and stabilized” the four siblings, according to the Defense Ministry.

Lesly (13), Soleiny (9), Tien Noriel (4) and Cristin (1) were extracted from the jungle the same evening, airlifted and transported by helicopter in the middle of the night to the town of San Jose del Guaviare (285 km southeast of Bogota), according to images released by the ministry.

They were immediately transferred by medical plane to Bogota, to be taken care of in a military hospital.

“See them, touch them”

Originating from the Uitoto indigenous group, the children had been wandering alone in the jungle since the crash on May 1 of the Cessna 206 aboard which they were traveling with their mother, the pilot and a relative. All three adults died, and their bodies were found by the military at the crash site.

According to the army, rescuers found the siblings about 5 km west of the crash site. “They are weak. Let the doctors make their prognosis,” Mr. Petro told reporters.

“I just want to see them, touch them,” grandfather Fidencio Valencia told AFP very moved in Villaviciencio.

It is the “warrior” nature of Lesly, the eldest of the siblings, which allowed them to survive, judged grandmother Fatima Valencia. “She usually always took care of her siblings when their mother was working. Gave them flour, cassava bread, fruits from the bush.”

Photos released by the army show the children, in the middle of the thick vegetation, seated on tarpaulins, surrounded by soldiers and natives giving them food and drink. They are in jeans and filthy long-sleeved T-shirts for the two older ones, their feet wrapped in bandages. Two others are swaddled in survival blankets.


The smallest, Cristin, is in the arms of one of her rescuers. She turned one while wandering the jungle with her siblings, according to Colombian press. The four faces are serious, appear very emaciated.

More than 100 soldiers accompanied by sniffer dogs and dozens of natives have been looking for the children between the departments of Guaviare and Caqueta since the discovery of the plane, vertical, nose planted on the ground, in the middle of thick vegetation .

Still according to the army, the rescuers of this “operation hope” traveled in total, in more than a month of research, nearly 2656 km in this impenetrable jungle, always “with an intact faith”.

The children’s chances of survival seemed to decrease day by day, in this very hostile environment where jaguars, pumas, snakes and other predators roam. Insects of all kinds are particularly voracious there, and there is also the question of vital access to drinking water.

The region is also an area of ​​strong influence for the dissident FARC, an armed group with which peace talks were recently broken off.

“Total Survival”

The news of the children’s disappearance had gone around the world, with videos and photos of the search operations carried out by the army, which followed their trail with the discovery of a bottle, scissors, shoes, nappies , chewed fruit, footprints or makeshift shelters.

On May 17, President Petro mistakenly announced that they had been found.

“Today has been a magical day that, without a doubt, fills us with joy”, rejoiced for good this time the Colombian president on his return from Cuba where the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army ( ELN), the last guerrilla group still active in the country, reached a six-month ceasefire agreement.

The children “were alone, they succeeded on their own. It is an example of total survival that will go down in history. These children are therefore today the children of peace and the children of Colombia,” he said.

Mr. Petro also praised “the effective coordination between the military and the natives” during the research, an “example of alliance for the country to follow”.

Wilson, a six-year-old Belgian shepherd dog who got lost in recent days during searches has still not been found, lamented the head of state.

Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez, for his part, paid tribute to the various army units, “unshaken and tireless”, as well as to the natives who took part in the research, extended over 320 km then 20 square km.

The Air Force had joined the operation, with three helicopters. Using a loudspeaker on board a device, a message recorded by the children’s grandmother was broadcast. Survival kits were thrown all over the jungle.

Satellite technologies had also been deployed to try to determine the path that the children could have taken in this impenetrable green hell, rinsed daily by torrential rains.

“We never got discouraged,” assured the grandmother. She now hopes to obtain custody of the children “to give them a good education”. “(…) It will be my pride. My daughter (who died in the accident) is watching me, she will encourage me spiritually and give me strength”.

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