A soldier and a dog take part in a search operation for child survivors from a Cessna 206 plane that had crashed in the jungle more than two weeks ago, in Caqueta, Colombia. (REUTERS)
Four children from an Indigenous community in Colombia were miraculously found alive more than two weeks after the plane they were traveling in crashed in a thick jungle, President Gustavo Petro said on Wednesday.
Rescuers said while three of the children were aged 13, nine and four-years the fourth was an 11-month-old baby. They had been wandering through the jungle in the southern Caqueta province since the crash.
Rescuers, supported by search dogs, had previously found discarded fruit the children ate to survive, as well as improvised shelters made with jungle vegetation, according to a Reuters report.
The plane – a Cessna 206 – was carrying seven people on board when it issued a mayday alert due to engine failure in the early hours of May 1.
More than 100 soldiers had been deployed with sniffer dogs to search for the kids who were traveling in an airplane that crashed on May 1, leaving three adults including the pilot and the children’s mother dead.
“After arduous searching by our military, we have found alive the four children who went missing after a plane crash in Guaviare. A joy for the country,” Petro said in a message via Twitter.
Airplanes and helicopters from both Colombia’s army and air force participated in the rescue operations.
Avianline Charters, owner of the crashed aircraft, said that one of its pilots in the search area was told the children had been found and that they “were being transported by boat downriver and that they were all alive,” AFP reported.
However, the company also said that “there has been no official confirmation” that the children were completely out of danger, and thunderstorms in the area still posed a risk to them reaching safety, the AFP report stated.