Colombia’s military found the four children aged 13, 9 , 4, and 12-month-old, who survived a plane crash on May 1.
Four children have been found alive in the Colombian jungle more than five weeks after the plane they were travelling in crashed in the thick jungle, Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro said.
The children from an indigenous community were rescued on Friday by the military near the border between Colombia’s Caqueta and Guaviare provinces, close to where the small plane had crashed.
The plane – a Cessna 206 – was carrying seven people on a route between Araracuara, in Amazonas province, and San Jose del Guaviare, a city in Guaviare province, when it issued a Mayday alert due to engine failure in the early hours of May 1.
Three adults, including the pilot, died as a result of the crash and their bodies were found inside the plane.
The four children, aged 13, 9 and 4, as well as a now 12-month-old baby, survived the impact.
Photos shared by Colombia’s military showed a group of soldiers with the four children in the middle of the jungle.
“A joy for the whole country! The four children who were lost … in the Colombian jungle appeared alive,” Petro said in a message via Twitter.
¡Una alegría para todo el país! Aparecieron con vida los 4 niños que estaban perdidos hace 40 días en la selva colombiana. pic.twitter.com/cvADdLbCpm
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) June 9, 2023
Petro initially reported that children had been found on May 17 in a message on Twitter but later deleted the post, saying the information was unconfirmed.
“They were together; they are weak. Let’s let the doctors assess them. They found them, and it makes me very happy,” Petro told journalists on Friday, adding the children had defended themselves alone in the middle of the jungle.
Rescuers, supported by search dogs, had previously found discarded fruit the children ate to survive, as well as improvised shelters made with jungle vegetation.
Planes and helicopters from Colombia’s army and air force participated in the rescue operations.
Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti, reporting from the Colombian capital Bogota, said that the children appeared to be in “good shape” considering that they had survived alone for so long in the jungle.
Their discovery was “quite a surprise”, he said, adding that after so many days missing in the jungle people were losing hope that they would be found alive.
“Different groups of indigenous communities that live across the Colombian Amazon, and in other parts of the country, had joined this – unprecedented really – search and rescue operation. So, definitely news that has the entire country here extremely happy,” he said.