On May 1st, a plane went down in the Amazon jungle carrying seven passengers, including the pilot. For weeks, Colombian military swept the reaches of the jungle, searching desperately for the children. Hope for finding began to dwindle as weeks wore on. After 40 days, the children have been found, miraculously alive.
After the crash, the four children survived on farina, a form of cassava flour commonly used by natives to the Amazon region. Upon running out of food, the children left the site of the crash to pursue a means of survival.
According to spokesperson Pedro Arnulfo Sánchez Suárez, “Their indigenous origins allowed them to acquire a certain immunity against diseases in the jungle and having knowledge of the jungle itself – knowing what to eat and what not to eat – as well as finding water kept them alive – which would not have been possible (if they) were not used to that type of hostile environment.”
An Astounding Survival
While the children were found malnourished, they were completely lucid and conscious. A great sign considering what they went through. 13-year-old Lesly Jacobombaire Mucutuy, 9-year-old Soleiny Jacobombaire Mucutuy, 4-year-old Tien Ranoque Mucutuy and infant Cristin Ranoque Mucutuy were all airlifted to a Colombian hospital and are in the process of recovering in Bogota. Sadly, for the adults on the plane, the crash claimed their lives. Including the childrens’ mother Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia. The pilot Hernando Murcia Morales, and Yarupari indigenous leader Herman Mendoza Hernández also tragically lost their lives.
The children were also not alone, for a time. A Colombian military dog named Wilson had disappeared during search efforts. Apparently Wilson had done his job and found the children, but had been separated from the rescue teams. The children said they spent three or four days with Wilson, but that “they (found) him quite skinny.” Relatives of the children said they’d spent “many sleepless nights worrying” while searches continued.
President of Colombia Gustavo Petro visited the children in the hospital, saying their survival would be “would be remembered in history…They are children of the jungle and now they are children of Colombia.”