The terrifying ordeal of four Indigenous children who spent forty days in the Colombian Amazon jungle after a plane crash has revealed some scant but chilling details. Family members have shared that their mother survived the crash for several days before succumbing to her injuries.

The rescued children, aged 13, 9, 4, and 11 months, are already showing signs of recovery at the hospital. They are speaking and expressing a desire to do more than just lie in bed, showing resilience after the tragedy.

On Sunday, Manuel Ranoque, the father of the two youngest children, shared details about the incident revealed by his 13-year-old daughter, Lesly Jacobombaire Mucutuy. According to Mucutuy, their mother managed to survive for four days following the plane crash in the Colombian jungle on May 1.

Ranoque said he believed the mother urged her children to leave the crash site before her passing to increase their chances of survival.

How The Children Are Recovering

The plane crash occurred en route from the Amazonian village of Araracuara to the city of San Jose del Guaviare. The pilot declared an emergency after the engine in the Cessna single-engine propeller plane failed. The aircraft was carrying three adults and four children. After losing contact with the plane for a period of time, a search and rescue operation was initiated.

In an interview with Noticias Caracol, Fidencio Valencia, the children’s uncle, revealed that the youngsters are gradually learning to communicate. One of them mentioned hiding in tree trunks to evade the jungle’s snakes, animals, and mosquitoes. They endured hardships and eventually ran out of energy.

After visiting the children at the military hospital in Bogota, Colombia, Valencia reported that “they are at least eating a little.” The children can’t consume solid food yet.

Valencia provided an update on the children’s progress a day and a half after their rescue. “They have been making a few little drawings. It’s important for them to have a way to express themselves.” He also mentioned that his family members were giving him and his wife some space to cope with the shock by minimizing frequent communication.

Dairo Juvenal Mucutuy, another uncle of the children, shared that one of them expressed a desire to start walking. The child said, “Uncle, I want shoes. I want to walk, but my feet hurt.”

Mucutuy replied, “When you get better, we will play soccer,” offering hope and support to the child.

How The Survivors Lasted In The Amazon

Authorities and family members credit the family’s survival to their familiarity with the rainforest’s resources, including cassava flour, seeds, and their knowledge of edible fruits. It’s worth noting that all of these young survivors belong to the Huitoto Indigenous community.

On Saturday, the children’s families, along with President Gustavo Petro and government and military officials, visited the military hospital where the children were receiving treatment after their rescue on Friday.

Footage released by the military showed a helicopter unable to land in the dense rainforest. Instead, the children were pulled up using lines. The military also shared photos of service members and volunteers with the children, who were provided blankets to keep warm. The video captured one soldier feeding the youngest child.

The rescue operation’s leader, General Pedro Sanchez, revealed that the children were found three miles from the crash site. Rescuers had come within 100 feet of their location on two separate occasions but missed them.

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