Colombian authorities said Monday that the four children who have been missing in the Amazon jungle for nearly a month, after the plane carrying them crashed in which their mother and two other adults perished, were "alive." The Cessna 206 in which the three children aged 4, 9 and 13 and an 11-month-old baby were traveling had disappeared from radar on May 1 in the vicinity of San José del Guaviare, in the department of Caqueta (south). He was found on May 15 with his nose crushed to the ground in the middle of dense vegetation.
Footprints and chewed fruits
The extensive search resources deployed made it possible to quickly find several "proofs of life", including footprints, chewed fruit or a makeshift shelter. On Tuesday, the nearly 200 men mobilized, including soldiers and indigenous people, discovered a pair of sneakers and a diaper. "Based on the evidence, we conclude that the children are alive. If they were dead, it would certainly be easy to find them because they would be motionless," and the sniffer dogs launched in search of them would "guide us," General Pedro Sanchez told W Radio.
See alsoColombia in search of four children lost in the Amazon for 18 days
The search around the wreckage of the aircraft covers an area of about 323 square kilometers, three times the area of Paris intramural. The general admits to finding it "strange" that the children "do not stop despite the dropping of more than 10,000 leaflets and survival kits" containing food, water and telling them what to do. Sanchez estimated his units were 100 meters or less away from the children, but rain, vegetation and marshy terrain make the search difficult.
According to the children's grandfather, the eldest of the siblings from an indigenous Uitoto, is "strong" and "intelligent" and has managed to get her siblings who are "used to the jungle" to safety. On 17 May, President Gustavo Petro announced that the children had been found alive with unconfirmed information and had to retract it the following day.