Four siblings of an indigenous group from South America are real survivors. The four siblings survived a plane accident that killed the adults aboard, then 40 days in “the most hostile” jungle in Colombia before rescuers found them.
“Miracle! Miracle! Miracle! Miracle!” A voice chirped on an army’s radio around 4 pm on Friday afternoon. The hundreds of volunteers, who had spent weeks searching for the missing children, knew at that point that all four had been found alive.
The tragic saga started on May 1 when four children — ages 13, 4, and 11 months old — and their mother jumped aboard a Cessna 206 single-engine aircraft, headed from the Amazonian town of Araracuara, to San Jose del Guaviare a city located hundreds of miles away.
Authorities received reports that the engine had failed sometime during the flight. Engine failure was catastrophic, as the plane took a nosedive and crashed into a sparsely-populated jungle. Rescue teams found the remains of a pilot, the mother of the children, and another adult when they located the plane two weeks later. The children, however, were not found.
Search teams were encouraged by the fact that no bodies had been discovered, but their chances of survival seemed bleak. The area was not only inhabited by venomous serpents, jaguars and armed militia but also with trees so tall and foliage so dense, that sunlight often couldn’t reach the ground. This area is also prone to heavy rains and is full of bugs.
The volunteers held on to the hope that older children who were all Huitoto members had acquired some survival skills. John Moreno is an indigenous leader in the Vaupes area. He said that this virgin forest was thick and dangerous. “They would have had to draw upon ancestral knowledge to survive.”
Four children are found alive and well in the jungle of Colombia after more than five weeks.
Rescue helicopters searched an area of about 125 square kilometers and broadcast a message regularly from the grandmother asking that they stay put. The helicopters also dropped food packages and the rescue teams were encouraged when, after several weeks of unsuccessful search, they found fruit rinds still marked with teeth marks from a child, as well as discarded diapers, a baby’s bottle, and some discarded soiled diapers.
At the time, Brigadier-General Pedro Sanchez said: “This isn’t a hunt for a needle among a haystack.” “It is a flea on a carpet of a huge size because it keeps moving.” They haven’t been found, but I’m certain that we would’ve already located them if they had died.
On June 9, 40 days after the plane crash, a rescue dog finally located the children. They were in good condition, despite being dehydrated, covered with bug bites and slightly injured due to all the walking. Their first words were almost always about food. The eldest girl said, “I’m starving,” as she ran to one of the rescuers. One of her brothers jokingly said, “I want bread and sausage.” He also told the rescue team that their mother was dead.
The helicopter could not land near the kids, so they had to be hoisted up. The children were transferred to a medical military plane and then flown to Bogota, Colombia’s capital. Father and grandparents of the children were overcome with gratitude and relief. The grandmother expressed her gratitude to Mother Earth and herself for the children’s freedom.
The confirmed rescue mission has been announced by Colombian President Gustavo Petro. He had erroneously claimed weeks ago that all the children were found.
Petro said that the children had “given us an example of survival total which will go into history.”
He added, “The jungle saved these children.” “They are the children of jungle and now are also Colombian children.”