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Sniffer dogs and half-eaten fruit: How children lost in the jungle after plane crash were found

In the deep depths of a Colombian jungle, four children have been found alive weeks after a deadly plane crash.

After surviving 40 days alone, the siblings were rescued by Colombian soldiers on Friday.

Pic: Twitter/@petrogustavo

A saga which captivated many Colombians as search teams frantically combed through the rainforest hunting for the children, aged 13, nine, four and 11 months old.

Following the news, President Gustavo Petro said: “A joy for the whole country! The four children who were lost… in the Colombian jungle appeared alive.”


Here’s everything we know about the deadly plane crash

Authorities said a small Cessna single-engine propeller plane fell off the radar in the early hours of 1 May.

There were six passengers on board and a pilot.

Pic: AP

Before the crash, the pilot declared an emergency due to an engine failure, and the small aircraft fell off the radar a short time later.

On 16 May, a search team found the plane in a thick patch of the rainforest and recovered the bodies of three adults.

The children were nowhere to be seen.

Officials said the group of four children were travelling with their mother from the Amazonian village of Araracuara to San Jose del Guaviare when the plane crashed.

They are members of the Huitoto people, and officials said the oldest children in the group had some knowledge of how to survive in the rainforest.

The search for the children

In hopes of finding the children, the Colombian army stepped up the hunt and flew 150 soldiers with dogs into the area.

Volunteers from Indigenous tribes also helped with the search.

Food supplies were dropped off in the jungle in the hopes it could keep the children alive.

Planes also flew over the jungle and fired flares to help search crews on the ground at night.

Rescue workers used speakers which blasted a message recorded by the siblings’ grandmother, telling them to stay in one place.

As the search continued, soldiers found small clues in the jungle that led them to believe the children were still alive.

Some of the clues included a pair of footprints, a baby bottle, diapers and pieces of fruit that looked like humans had eaten them.

Mr Petro said the children were found by one of the rescue dogs that soldiers took into the jungle, but for a while, he had believed the children were rescued by one of the nomadic tribes that still roam the remote depths of the jungle.

A picture released by Colombia's armed forces shows a solider and sniffer dog searching for the children
Colombia’s armed forces shared a photo of a sniffer dog searching for the children

The children were alone when the rescue team found them and are now receiving medical attention in Bogota.

A video of the rescue showed a helicopter attached to lines pulling the children up.

There are currently no further details on how they survived for so long.

Military personnel and Indigenous leaders stand under a plane after the arrival of four siblings who were missing for 40 days.
Indigenous leaders joined soldiers as the siblings arrived in Bogota. Pic: AP

Read more from Sky News:
Four children found alive in thick jungle

What has been said following the incident?

On Friday, the military tweeted images that showed a group of soldiers and volunteers with the children.

Pic: AP

“The union of our efforts made this possible,” Colombia’s military command wrote on its Twitter account.

Mr Petro said the children’s story would “remain in history” and called them an “example of survival”.

“The jungle saved them. They are children of the jungle, and now they are also children of Colombia,” Mr Petro added.

People posted messages of support on social media after the 40-day-long search for the children.

“Miraculous survival story! Four children were found alive after over a month in Colombia’s Amazon jungle following a #PlaneCrash. Sadly, their mother and other adults didn’t survive. Grateful to the military and Indigenous community for their rescue. Prayers for the children’s recovery,” one user said.

Another said: “After 40 days lost in one of the most aggressive Colombian Jungles, 4 Colombian Kids and Lost Dog (Who was part of the Search Rescue) were found!…Colombia is happy now!!!”


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