Four children were found alive in the Amazon jungle in Colombia on Friday, almost six weeks after surviving a plane crash and being lost in the jungle.
“A joy for the whole country!” Colombian President Gustavo Petro said in a translated tweet Friday night after the children were located. “The four children who were lost in the Colombian jungle for 40 days appeared alive.”
The four children are Lesly Jacobo Bonbaire, age 13; Solecni Ranoque Mucutuy, age 9; Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutuy, age 4; and Cristian Neryman Ranoque Mucutuy, who turned one during the search.
Petro explained that each of the children received medical attention in the town of San José del Guaviare in southern Colombia and would be transported to Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.
The four children who were lost in the jungle for nearly six weeks, were involved in a plane crash on May 1 caused by an engine failure on a Cessna single-engine propeller plane. Two weeks after the plane crashed in the jungle, a search team located the aircraft and discovered the bodies of three adults, including the pilot and the mother of the children. However, the bodies of the four children could not be found at the place of the airplane crash.
Believing that the children were still alive, Colombian soldiers and volunteers conducted a major search and rescue operation for the children in the weeks following the discovery of the crash, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to The Guardian, the rescue effort, which became known as Operation Hope, involved 150 soldiers, 200 volunteers from local Indigenous communities, and a team of 10 Belgian shepherd dogs. The search for the four children covered over 125 square miles of the Colombian Jungle.
The search for the missing children utilized 11 aircraft, with the Colombian military distributing ready-to-eat meals and kits with flour meal, crackers, water, lighters and whistles from the aircraft in an effort to aid the children in their attempt to survive the dangers of the jungle. The military also dropped thousands of pamphlets from the air, urging the children, “Make noise, make smoke. We will save you. We are close.”
After weeks of searching, the children were finally located on Friday, with army radios announcing, “Miracle, miracle, miracle, miracle,” which was the army’s code for a child being found alive.
The Colombian military even tweeted pictures of the team of soldiers and volunteers that found the children with the four children, who were wrapped in thermal blankets.
While it was reported that the children were malnourished and covered with insect bites from their time in the jungle, none of the four children were listed in serious condition.