The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

The purpose of Lesly and the secrets of the jungle: how the four missing children survived 40 days in Colombia


Highlights: Lesly, Soleiny, Tien Noriel (four) and Cristin Neriman (11 months) survived a plane crash in the Colombian jungle. The oldest of the brothers took care of the rest and kept them alive because of the experience she had acquired in the Amazon. The plane crashed into the ground after gliding over the trees. The mother's body was left inside the plane, along with that of the pilot and a family friend. All three had died from the impact, but the four children survived with hardly any injuries.

The oldest of the brothers took care of the rest and kept them alive because of the experience she had acquired in the Amazon.

The plane crashed into the ground after gliding over the trees. The mother's body was left inside the plane, along with that of the pilot and a family friend. All three had died from the impact. That's when 13-year-old Lesly suddenly realized that she and her three younger siblings had survived a plane crash in the middle of the Colombian jungle. From that moment on, alone, without anyone's help, she had a single purpose: to keep them alive in such an inhospitable and dangerous place. When they were rescued 40 days later, malnourished and scared, the children wanted to play and read.

The four brothers lived with their parents in Araracuara, a town in the heart of the Amazon jungle where a Colombian president ordered the construction of a prison in the 30s of the last century in which to lock up the most dangerous criminals. Locking up is a way of speaking. In reality, the prisoners lived in the open air, in the middle of a swampy and overgrown terrain. Whoever wanted to escape and enter the jungle signed his death warrant. The next generations born there, many descendants of convicts, learned to live among snakes, jaguars and poisonous plants.

Lesly, as a daughter of that environment, knows the secrets of the jungle. She knows how to be guided by the sun's rays that filter through the trees, recognize the passable roads, the broken branches, the edible mushrooms, according to an uncle of the child. An urbanite would hardly survive in that place, but the people of the indigenous communities are easily oriented and can travel 30 kilometers in a day without adventure shoes. Lesly had grown up with those teachings. Eventually they were going to save the lives of her and her siblings.

The plane crashed on May 18, 2023 in Guaviare, Colombia.Colombian Army (EFE/Colombian Army)

But he still had to get on that plane, the Cessna 206, registration HK 2803, piloted by a man who had previously been a taxi driver, Hernán Murcia. It was May 1. The mother, Magdalena Mucutuy, and her four children were to meet the father, Manuel Ranoque. He, who was governor of the nearest indigenous reservation, had fled Araracuara after being threatened by the guerrillas. He hoped to start a new life with his whole family in Bogotá, the country's capital.

The flight left from his town and was to arrive in San José del Guaviare, the nearest department capital. The journey involves crossing a good part of the jungle. Halfway down, on the Apaporis River, the pilot reported an engine failure. It was the last communication he had with the control tower. After that he began to lose height. By the route that the ship made, it is believed that the pilot tried to land down the river, but did not have time and tried to land on the trees. The blow was just as abrupt and the plane ended up falling to the ground.

For some reason that for now no one has been able to explain, the three adults died from the impact, but the four children survived with hardly any injuries. Authorities who saw that flight missed assumed there were no survivors. It was not until 16 days later that some Indians found the plane with the three bodies inside. Where were the children? A bottle, a bitten apple, a hair gum and diapers appeared that implied that they were alive. But where?

Bottle found near the crash site of the aircraft. COLOMBIAN MILITARY FORCES

Lesly, Soleiny (nine), Tien Noriel (four) and Cristin Neriman (11 months) began a journey in the jungle that was going to last beyond imagination. Lesly led them throughout, keeping them safe and sound. It is known that they fed on what they could and, later, on the kits that rescuers dropped from the sky. More than 100 members of the Colombian special forces and 70 indigenous people were in charge of looking for them as they wandered aimlessly through the largest rainforest on the planet.

On the way they ran into a dog that accompanied them for a long time and made them very good company. One day, he was swallowed by the jungle and they never heard from him again: his best friend was lost. Inside it is always night because of the thick foliage and it is difficult to notice more than one silhouette at 20 meters. If someone moves further away from that distance, they can get lost and never appear again. So the children had to stay very close together. Lesly, according to a military source, is the one holding the baby most of the day.

Wilson, one of the canines who participated from the beginning in the search, is still missing.

They couldn't know, but finding them was a matter of honor for the country's president. Days after the plane appeared, Gustavo Petro tweeted that they had appeared alive. The news went viral within minutes. As the hours passed, however, the military did not finish confirming it. It was later learned that an official had been carried away by rumors in an indigenous community and assumed that they had found them. Petro had to delete the message, an affront to an accomplished tweeter like him. He looked bad in front of everyone and ordered the Military Forces to do everything possible to find them. It was a matter of national priority.

At that point, the children had already been lost for almost 20 days. The commander in charge of the search, Pedro Sánchez, said that if they were not indigenous the chances of finding them alive would be very low. I kept faith for Lesly. The trackers walked hundreds of kilometers, weaving with their steps a spider's web on the map. However, they did not finish finding the children. Time was running out.

The search was so long that the country forgot about them. The government became entangled in a scandal of illegal wiretapping and rumors of irregular financing and almost everyone lost interest. Commander Sanchez didn't care, he always picked up the phone with the same impetus: "Until we find them, we're not going to leave." His theory was that if they were dead they would have found their bodies by now. They couldn't find them, he said, because they were moving whites. White birthdays: the baby made one and the four-year-old turned five. We still don't know if they were aware and if they came to celebrate them. The days and nights in the jungle are a uniform mass, the calendar sheets and the hands of the clock cease to matter.

The military received support from indigenous communities. Without them, it would have been impossible. The natives prayed before entering the jungle as a way to ask Mother Nature for permission. They have a series of beliefs and rites difficult for the white man to understand. For them, the jungle is a living entity with rationality and will. The children's grandmother said that it was nature that did not let them go outside. The spiritual matter is very strong. They also have the theory that the nomadic tribes of that area applied their ancestral forces so that the authorities did not find them and stayed to live with them.

Rescue of the four missing children, on June 9, 2023.Government of Colombia

That was one of the president's fears, that one of those communities that remain practically isolated had found them and made them his children. You had to think anything, except that they were dead. And the reality is that they weren't. A commando of soldiers and indigenous people found them after 40 days with symptoms of malnutrition and tired, but without their lives being in danger. Lesly succeeded. Colombia elevates it these days to the rank of myth.

The military took the children out of the jungle in a helicopter and took them to a hospital in Bogotá where they will remain for two or three weeks. There they get bored in their rooms and the boy, Tien Noriel, wants to remove the cables and go for a walk, according to official Astrid Cáceres, director of the minor's institute. They told him that after this 40-day odyssey they just want to play and read. They are children.

Subscribe here to the newsletter of EL PAÍS about Colombia and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of the country.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits

Read more

I'm already a subscriber

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-06-10

Similar news:

You may like

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2023-09-23T12:58:45.122Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.