In Colombia, the four children who survived the crash of their plane were found alive

In Colombia, the four children who survived the crash of their plane were found alive

2023-06-10 09:12:40

Aged 13, 9, 4 and 1, they wandered for forty days in the Amazon jungle of Colombia after the crash of the small plane in which they were traveling. The four children were found alive, on the night of Friday June 9 to Saturday June 10, then were transferred to Bogota. A medical plane from the Colombian army landed around midnight (7:30 a.m. in Paris) at the capital’s military airport.

“A joy for the whole country! The four children lost 40 days ago in the Colombian jungle have been found alive »announced the president, Gustavo Petro, in a post on Twitter accompanied by a photo of soldiers and natives participating in the operation to find the siblings. “Yes, the children have been found, but I need a flight or a helicopter to get them urgently”confirmed their grandfather, Fidencio Valencia.

Hailing from the Uitoto indigenous group, the children had been wandering the jungle alone since the crash on 1is May, 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 at the crash site. According to the army, rescuers found the siblings about 5 kilometers further west. They “are weak; let the doctors make their assessment”Mr. Petro asked the press.

More than a hundred soldiers deployed for research

“I just want to see them, touch them”, had declared very moved the grandfather in Villaviciencio. It’s nature “warrior” de Lesly, the eldest of the siblings, who allowed them to survive, judged the 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 youngest, Cristin, turned 1 while wandering the jungle with her siblings, according to Colombian press. The four faces appear very emaciated.

More than a hundred 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 . 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 recently broke down. The news of their 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.

“It is an example of survival that will go down in history”

“Today has been a magical day that, without a doubt, fills us with joy”insisted 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, have reached a six-month ceasefire agreement.

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“I come back and the first news is that the indigenous communities who participated in the search and the military forces found the children forty days later”he added. “They were alone, they succeeded on their own. It’s an example of total survival that will go down in history.”, he welcomed. These children are used to life in the jungle and know how to survive it, their relatives had assured.

The Air Force had joined the rescue operation called “Hope”, with three helicopters. Using a loudspeaker on board a device, a message recorded by the children’s grandmother was broadcast. Satellite technology had also been deployed to try to determine the path the children might have taken through the jungle. The Air Force confirmed the children’s arrival in the Colombian capital with a video posted on Twitter.

“We were never discouraged”, assured the grandmother. She now hopes to get custody of the children “to give them a good education”. « (…) It will be my pride. My daughter [morte dans l’accident] looks at me, she will encourage me spiritually and give me strength. »

The World with AFP

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