Lazy eyes listen
According to Colombian police, four youngsters who went missing after a plane accident over the Amazon jungle last month have been recovered alive. The children, the smallest of whom was only 12 months old, were exposed to the elements for over six weeks.
On Friday night, the Colombian military confirmed the news via Twitter, releasing photographs of the children alongside soldiers and rescue professionals.
“The collaboration of efforts made Colombia’s joy possible.” Glory to the soldiers of the [Colombian Military Forces, indigenous people, and institutions involved in Operation Hope,” the statement stated, referring to the search expedition.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro praised the rescue in a social media post, calling it a “joy for the whole country.” While the children’s condition was not immediately known, he informed reporters that they were “weak” when discovered and are now being treated.
The four siblings were observed on the border of Colombia’s Guaviare and Caqueta districts, not far from the accident site of a single-engine Cessna plane that crashed over the jungle on May 1. The parents of the children, as well as the pilot of the small craft, were killed in the tragedy. Their bodies had already been discovered near the plane, which had crashed due to an engine failure.
The children, aged 13, nine, four, and one, are Huitoto indigenous people from southern Colombia and northern Peru. According to officials, the two eldest children had some experience surviving in the rainforest, which may have helped them endure their ordeal.
President Petro was forced to retract a remark late last month after stating that the children had been found “after arduous searching by our military.” He then apologized for the premature statement, claiming that the information was relayed to him by the state-run Colombian Institute of Family Welfare but had not been confirmed.
At least 150 soldiers, as well as helicopters and other military equipment, took part in the massive search. The planes dropped supplies over the suspected location of the youngsters, as well as shooting flares at night to illuminate the dense forest for rescuers on the ground. Search teams also utilized loudspeakers to broadcast a recorded message from the children’s grandmother telling them to stay there, hoping that a familiar voice would make them more receptive.