Four children from an Indigenous community in Colombia have been found alive in the south of the country more than two weeks after the plane they were travelling in crashed in thick jungle, president Gustavo Petro has said.
The children were rescued by members of the military, firefighters and civil aviation authority officials in the dense jungle of Colombia’s Caqueta province.
The plane – a Cessna 206 – was carrying seven people between Araracuara, in Amazonas province, and San Jose del Guaviare, a city in Guaviare province, when it issued a mayday alert due to engine failure in the early hours of 1 May.
“After arduous searching by our military, we have found alive the four children who went missing after a plane crash in Guaviare. A joy for the country,” Petro said on Wednesday in a message via Twitter.
Three adults, including the pilot, died as a result of the crash and their bodies were found inside the plane. The four children, aged 13, 9 and 4, as well as an 11-month-old baby, survived the impact.
Preliminary information from the civil aviation authority, which coordinated the rescue efforts, suggests the children escaped the plane and set off into the rainforest to find help.
Rescuers, supported by search dogs, had previously found discarded fruit the children ate to survive, as well as improvised shelters made with jungle vegetation.
Airplanes and helicopters from both Colombia’s army and air force participated in the rescue operations.