In this photo released by Colombia's Armed Forces Press Office, soldiers and Indigenous men tend to the four children who were missing after a deadly plane crash, in the Solano jungle, Caqueta state, Colombia, June 9, 2023 (Colombia's Armed Force Press Office via AP)

4 children found alive after surviving Colombian plane crash, 40 days alone in jungle

Mom of indigenous siblings aged 13, 9, 4, 11 months, died in crash; hopes for kids’ survival remained high when footprints, baby bottle, diapers, fruit bitten by humans were found

By MANUEL RUEDA

In this photo released by Colombia’s Armed Forces Press Office, soldiers and Indigenous men tend to the four children who were missing after a deadly plane crash, in the Solano jungle, Caqueta state, Colombia, June 9, 2023 (Colombia’s Armed Force Press Office via AP)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Four Indigenous children survived an Amazon plane crash that killed three adults and then wandered on their own in the jungle for 40 days before being found alive by Colombian soldiers.

The announcement of their rescue on Friday brought a happy ending to a saga that had seized the attention of many Colombians, a watch with highs and lows as searchers frantically combed through the rainforest hunting for the youngsters.

President Gustavo Petro celebrated the news upon returning from Cuba, where he signed a cease-fire with representatives of the National Liberation Army rebel group. He said the children were getting medical attention and he hoped to talk with them Saturday.

The air force evacuated the children on a helicopter that used lines to pull them up because it couldn’t land in the dense rainforest where they were found. It said the craft was going to San Jose del Guaviare, a small town on the edge of the jungle, but gave no information on plans for dealing with the youngsters.

No details were released on how the four siblings aged 13, 9, 4 and 11 months managed to survive on their own for so long, though they belong to an Indigenous group that lives in the remote region.

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