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10th Jun 2023

Four children missing after Colombia plane crash found alive after 40 days

Steve Hopkins

A remarkable ‘example of survival’ that will ‘remain in history’

Four children have been found alive five weeks after the plane they were travelling in crashed in the Colombian jungle.

The kids, siblings aged 13, nine, four, and 11 months, were rescued by the Colombian military, not far from where the Cessna 206 crashed on May 1.

Three adults on board, including their mother and the pilot, died.

Despite the amount of time that had passed, officials had remained hopeful the children were alive, encouraged by searchers finding discarded fruit the youngsters had eaten to survive. They also found shelters made with jungle vegetation.

Colombian President Gustav Petro said: “A joy for the whole country! The four children who were lost… in the Colombian jungle appeared alive.”

It is the second time he has announced the children have been found.

Two weeks after their disappearance, Petro apologised after incorrectly announcing the children had been found.

The youngsters are now being checked by doctors in the capital of Bogota.

The military tweeted pictures showing a group of soldiers and volunteers posing with the children, who were wrapped in thermal blankets.

The children were travelling with their mother from the Amazonian village of Araracuara to San Jose del Guaviare when the plane crashed on May 1 near the Guaviare province.

They are members of the Huitoto people, and officials said the oldest children in the group had some knowledge of how to survive in the rainforest, Sky News reported.

“The jungle saved them,” Petro said. “They are children of the jungle, and now they are also children of Colombia.”

Petro added that the children’s experience was an “example of survival” and predicted their saga “will remain in history.”

The children have been named as 13-year-old Lesly Jacobombaire Mucutuy, nine-year-old Soleiny Jacobombaire Mucutuy, four-year-old Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutuy and 11-month-old Cristin Neriman Ranoque Mucutuy.

Their mother Magdalena Mucutuy was reportedly travelling with her children to Bogotá to meet her husband Manuel Ranoque and start a new life together.

According to El Tiempo, Ranoque, who is related to a local political leader, previously lived in the indigenous reserve of Puerto Sábalo with his family.

He had to reportedly flee the community on foot after receiving threats from crime groups operating in the area.

Ranoque is said to have completed his odyssey through the jungle and eventually arrived in Bogotá.

There he found a job and saved money for a month and a half to afford his family’s transport from their remote community to the Colombian capital.

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