Columbia plane crash: 4 children rescued from Amazon jungle after 40 days

Tragically, three adults, including pilot and children's mother died in Columbian plane crash

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Colombian military soldiers pose for a photo after the rescue of child survivors from a Cessna 206 plane that crashed on May 1 in the jungles of Caqueta, in this handout photo released June 9, 2023. Presidency/Handout via REUTERS
Colombian military soldiers pose for a photo after the rescue of child survivors from a Cessna 206 plane that crashed on May 1 in the jungles of Caqueta, in this handout photo released June 9, 2023. Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

Four children, who miraculously survived a plane crash in the heart of Colombia's dangerous Amazon jungle and somehow managed to stay alive for forty days enduring hardships including hunger, thirst, and injuries, were finally found, bringing an end to an extensive rescue operation, BBC reported Saturday.

Columbia's President Gustavo Petro, who was personally overseeing the search operation, expressed immense joy over the successful rescue of the minors, declaring it a source of national happiness.

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.

Tragically, three adults, including the pilot and the children's mother Magdalena Mucutuy, died as a result of the crash and their bodies were found inside the plane.

The four siblings, aged 13, 9, 4, as well as a now 12-month-old baby, survived the impact.

An extensive search and rescue operation involving soldiers and local residents was launched in response to their disappearance.

President Gustavo Petro said finding the group was a "magical day", adding: "They were alone, they themselves achieved an example of total survival which will remain in history.

"These children are today the children of peace and the children of Colombia."

A touching image shared by Petro depicted soldiers and Indigenous community members taking care of the siblings, who had been missing for 40 days.

A video released by Colombia's Ministry of Defence showed the children being airlifted in a helicopter during the nighttime, soaring above the towering trees of the jungle.

President Petro confirmed that the children were receiving medical attention and relayed a conversation with their grandfather, who described their return as a gift from the mother jungle.

Currently, the children have been transported to Bogota, the capital city, where they were swiftly taken to the hospital for further medical care.

Narcizo Mucutuy, the grandfather of the three girls and one boy, told reporters he was delighted at the news of their rescue.

"As the grandfather to my grandchildren who disappeared in the jungles of the Yari, at this moment I am very happy," he said.

Rescuers, supported by search dogs, had previously found discarded fruit the children ate to survive, as well as improvised shelters made with jungle vegetation.

Airplanes and helicopters from Colombia's army and air force participated in the rescue operations.