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Children found alive after being lost in Colombian jungle for 40 days

Colombian soldiers pose with four Indigenous children.
In this handout picture released by the Colombian presidency on Friday, June 9, 2023, members the army pose with four Indigenous children after the kids spent more than a month lost in the Amazon rainforest following a plane crash. Photo by Colombian Presidency /via Getty Images

BOGOTA — Colombian authorities found four Indigenous children who survived a small plane crash 40 days ago and had been the subject of an intense search in the Amazon jungle that held citizens on edge.

The children were alone when searchers found them and are now receiving medical attention, Colombian President Gustavo Petro told reporters upon his return to Bogota from Cuba, where he signed a ceasefire agreement with representatives of the National Liberation Army rebel group.

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The president said the youngsters are an “example of survival” and predicted their saga “will remain in history.”

The crash happened in the early hours of May 1, when the Cessna single-engine propeller plane with seven passengers and a pilot declared an emergency due to an engine failure.

The small aircraft fell off the radar a short time later and a frantic search for survivors began. The three adults were killed and their bodies were found in the area.

  1. A handout photo distributed by the Colombian Army on May 30, 2023, shows a girl's footprint (bottom) spotted in the forest in a border region between the departments of Caqueta and Guaviare, Colombia, and compared to a military boot print (top).

    New footprints revive hope in Colombia of finding four children missing in jungle

  2. Search continues in Colombia for children who could have survived plane crash

On May 16, a search team found the plane in a thick patch of the rainforest and recovered the bodies of the adults, but the children were nowhere to be found.

Sensing that they could be alive, Colombia’s army stepped up the hunt for the children and flew 150 soldiers with dogs into the area to track the group of four siblings, with the youngest being 11 months old and the oldest 13 years old. Dozens of volunteers from Indigenous tribes also helped search.


On Friday, the military tweeted pictures showing a group of soldiers and volunteers posing with the children, who were wrapped in thermal blankets. One of the soldiers held a bottle to the smallest child’s lips.

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