Posted: Saturday, June 10, 2023. 2:29 pm CST.
By Breaking Belize News Staff: In an astonishing tale of survival, four indigenous children aged between 11 months and 13 years managed to survive 40 grueling days in the Amazon jungle following a plane crash that took the lives of three adults. The children were finally found by Colombian soldiers, ending a tense and lengthy search-and-rescue mission, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The children, members of the Huitoto people, were discovered on Friday, an outcome that led to a mixture of relief and awe at their remarkable feat of endurance. They are now receiving treatment in a hospital in Bogota. Officials have yet to provide a detailed account of how the children sustained themselves in the remote rainforest.
It was previously suggested that the two older children had some survival skills associated with their native environment. However, the specifics of their ordeal remain unclear. Their survival has sparked national interest and raised questions about their extraordinary resilience.
Upon his return from Cuba, where he signed a cease-fire agreement with representatives of the National Liberation Army rebel group, President Gustavo Petro visited the children. Praising their incredible survival, Petro forecasted that their story “will remain in history.”
Damaris Mucutuy, the children’s aunt, assured that “the children are fine”, albeit dehydrated and dealing with insect bites. The family has also been offered mental health services in response to the ordeal.
In a briefing on Saturday, Defense Minister Iván Velásquez stated that the children were being rehydrated and were not yet able to consume solid food. Despite the challenging circumstances, Velásquez confirmed that their overall condition is acceptable.
Air force footage revealed the complexity of the rescue, showing the children being lifted by a helicopter using lines, as it was unable to land in the dense forest. The military released images of the rescued children swaddled in thermal blankets alongside the soldiers and volunteers who aided their recovery.
The siblings were located approximately 3 miles from the crash site in a small forest clearing, according to Gen. Pedro Sanchez, who headed the rescue efforts. The children had narrowly been missed by the search teams on several occasions due to their concealed location.
“The minors were already very weak,” Sanchez shared, conjecturing that their strength was barely sufficient for vital functions or to gather a bit of food and water.
Fidencio Valencia, the children’s uncle, revealed that the survivors were relieved to see their family, who are adopting a “day-by-day” approach to handle the situation. They survived initially on fariña, a cassava flour common in the Amazon region, before resorting to seeds when the flour ran out.
The tragic crash occurred on May 1 when a Cessna single-engine plane with seven passengers reported engine failure and lost contact with radar. Two weeks after the crash, search teams found the wreckage and the remains of three adults, but the children were missing. The search operation then intensified, with 150 soldiers and local volunteers joining the effort to locate the young survivors.
This tale of survival highlights the indomitable spirit of the Huitoto children and the relentless efforts of the Colombian rescue teams to bring them home.
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