The miracle that Colombia waited for 40 days occurred this Friday with the discovery and rescue of the four indigenous children who had been lost since May 1 in the Amazon jungle after the plane crash in which they were traveling with their mother, the pilot and another adult.
Almost a hundred indigenous people join the search for 4 missing children in Colombia
The protagonists of this miracle of surviving the dangers and the jungle are the minors Lesly Mukutuy, 13 years old; Soleiny Mukutuy, 9; Tien Noriel Ronoque Mukutuy, 4, and one-year-old baby Cristin Neruman Ranoque.
The minors, brothers to each other, were found after 5:00 p.m. local time (22:00 GMT) in a remote point between the departments of Caquetá and Guaviare where they were searched tirelessly for weeks by some 200 soldiers, including commandos from the Army Special Forces, and indigenous people from various tribes who know the jungle, all united in “Operation Hope”.
After the discovery, the children were treated by combat medics from the Special Operations Command deployed in the area and at night, they were transferred by helicopter to the military base of San José del Guaviare, capital of Guaviare, where “they were stabilized.”
Defense Minister Iván Velásquez reported that this Saturday, as far as possible, the minors will be transferred to the Bogotá Military Hospital to continue their recovery.
The expected news
“A joy for the whole country! The 4 children who were lost 40 days ago in the Colombian jungle appeared alive,” Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced on his Twitter account.
Minutes later, and as soon as he got off the presidential plane from Havana, where a temporary bilateral ceasefire agreement was signed this Friday with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Petro described the discovery as “a gift to the life”.
“Now that I am back, the first news is that indeed the indigenous communities that were in the search and the Military Forces jointly found the four children alive after 40 days,” Petro stressed.
The statement of the Head of State was supported by the Army, which released photographs showing the four minors sitting in a clearing in the middle of the jungle, covered with blankets and surrounded by soldiers and indigenous people.
Although in the photos they look emaciated and malnourished, the four are in good health if one takes into account that they had to overcome the dangers of the jungle and lack of food for 40 days.
According to Velásquez, the children received some of the hundreds of food packages that were dropped from the helicopters over several days and “managed to feed on them.”
The mystery of the disappearance
The four children were traveling with the three adults on a Cessna 206 plane operated by Avianline Charter’s that crashed on May 1. All three adults died in the accident and their bodies were found several days later.
“They were alone. They themselves achieved an example of survival that will remain in history, so today those children are the children of peace”, added the president.
Since the plane was found, a gigantic search operation began for the four children, during which the military and indigenous people walked thousands of square kilometers of jungle and made numerous helicopter and airplane flights until they were finally found this Friday.
jubilation in the country
The case of the children aroused the interest of the country, which was aware of the details of the search and therefore celebrated their rescue, safe and sound.
In addition to Petro, the Command of the Military Forces highlighted that “the union of efforts made this joy possible for Colombia” and sang glory to the soldiers, indigenous communities and institutions that were part of Operation Hope.
These voices were joined by the United States Embassy in Colombia, which said that the children who survived the plane crash “are the light of life and hope that illuminates Colombia.”
Several politicians spoke along the same lines, including former President Ávaro Uribe, who assured: “The discovery of the children is a great relief for the country.”
For her part, the mayoress of Bogotá, Claudia López said: “Those four little ones are great heroes! Thanks to the Government and the Military Forces that did not give up in their search!”.