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Business News/ News / Explained: How Colombian children survived for 40 days in Amazon jungle after plane crash
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Explained: How Colombian children survived for 40 days in Amazon jungle after plane crash

Four Indigenous children survive Amazon plane crash that killed three adults. After 40 days in the jungle, they were rescued by Colombian soldiers.

4 Colombian children rescued from jungle after 40 days following plane crashPremium
4 Colombian children rescued from jungle after 40 days following plane crash

Four Indigenous children managed to endure an Amazon plane crash that claimed the lives of three adults. For 40 arduous days, these courageous youngsters braved the unforgiving jungle until they were ultimately discovered by Colombian soldiers in their search-and-rescue mission.

The Huitoto children, aged 13, 9, and 4 years with 11 months, are currently receiving medical treatment at a hospital after their rescue on Friday. 

"When the plane crashed, they relied on the fariña, and it became their lifeline," shared the children’s uncle, Fidencio Valencia with reporters outside the hospital.

Their survival was initially sustained by fariña, a cassava flour commonly consumed in the Amazon region, salvaged from the wreckage.

As their supplies depleted, the children resorted to consuming seeds to sustain themselves until their eventual rescue. The timing proved to be on their side as the bountiful jungle harvest provided an additional source of nourishment, enabling them to subsist on fruits amidst their weakened state.

Astrid Cáceres, head of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, said the youngsters were also able to eat fruit because “the jungle was in the harvest."

President Gustavo Petro called the children an “example of survival" and added that their saga “will remain in history."

The search efforts, initiated two weeks after the crash, bore fruit on May 16 when a team located the wreckage in a dense rainforest patch, recovering the bodies of the deceased adults. However, the whereabouts of the young survivors remained unknown.

Driven by the belief that the children might still be alive, Colombia's army intensified the pursuit by deploying 150 soldiers and dogs, where mist and thick foliage hampered visibility. Joined by numerous volunteers from Indigenous tribes, the collaborative search effort proved instrumental in locating the resilient children.

Damaris Mucutuy, an aunt of the children, reassured the public that despite dehydration and insect bites, the young survivors were in stable condition and had been provided with mental health services.

During their time in the jungle, the children formed a bond with a rescue dog named Wilson, brought along by the soldiers. Tragically, the canine companion disappeared, prompting ongoing efforts to locate the beloved Belgian Shepherd.

As the search progressed, promising clues emerged, strengthening the belief that the children had indeed endured their ordeal. Footprints, a baby bottle, diapers, and partially consumed fruit-bearing human bites all served as clues.

President Petro acknowledged the jungle's role as their savior, proclaiming that the children were now not only children of the forest but also children of Colombia.

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Published: 12 Jun 2023, 03:09 PM IST
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