Following a plane crash in Colombia, authorities were amazed that four children involved had survived alone for 40 days in the Amazon jungle.
Not only did the four children in question survive a horrific plane crash, but they miraculously and impressively managed to survive alone in the harsh environment of the Amazon jungle for 40 days until authorities finally rescued them.
Following the plane crash on 1 May, the four missing children were the focus of a massive rescue operation which involved a combined effort by dozens of local people and soldiers.
The Cessna 206 aircraft – crashed in the Amazon jungle
The four children and their mother had been travelling from Araracuara in the Amazonas province to San José del Guaviare when the aircraft experienced trouble and issued a mayday alert due to engine failure before crashing into the Amazon jungle.
When the army authorities discovered the crash site, they found the bodies of three adults, including the children’s mother, but amazingly there was no sign of the four children.
After searching the crash site, it became clear that the children appeared to have survived, escaped the wreckage, and wandered into the jungle, presumably looking for help.
The four survivors of the air crash – defying the odds
After discovering the plane crash site, rescue teams focused on finding the four missing children.
While they found hopeful clues that the children were still alive thanks to the discovery of items such as a child’s drinking bottle, a hair tie, a pair of scissors, a makeshift shelter and most importantly, small footprints, the rescue team were under no illusion that the children remained in grave danger.
This fear for the children’s safety was well founded as in the Amazon jungle; they were at risk of various dangers such as hunger, dehydration, exposure to weather elements and threats posed by snakes, jaguars and other dangerous predators.
Indigenous people joined the search, and helicopters broadcasted a message recorded in the Huitoto language from the children’s grandmother, which urged them to stay in the one spot to make the rescue effort easier.
It was hoped by the children’s community that their knowledge of jungle survival skills and fruits would provide them with the best chance possible of surviving.
The successful rescue of the children – a reason for the country to celebrate
After 40 days, the people of Colombia had reason to celebrate as all four children were found alive and well. Colombia’s president said that the rescue of the siblings, aged 13, nine, four and one, was “a joy for the whole country”.
President Gustavo Petro added, “They were alone; they themselves achieved an example of total survival which will remain in history”.
The children’s grandmother, Fatima Valencia, was overjoyed after the rescue and hailed the eldest child as the reason for the group’s survival, as she was used to looking after the other three children when their mother worked.
“I am very grateful, and to mother earth as well, that they were set free. She gave them flour and cassava bread, any fruit in the bush, they know what they must consume,” Ms Valencia explained.
Their grandfather, Fidencio Valencia, has called on the authorities to allow his grandchildren to be moved closer to their family in Villavicencio, approximately 130 km (142 miles) from Bogota.
“I am asking the president as the highest authority, I am sorry to bother him, but it is my right and my duty; it is my blood, it is my family. I want to see the children here in Villavicencio,” he said in an interview.