Children Survive 40 Days in Colombian Jungle

On May 1, a Cessna 206 went down in the Colombian jungle because of a mechanical failure. The crash killed the three adults onboard, but four children, aged 13, 9, 4, and 11 months, miraculously survived. By the time rescuers arrived at the crash site, the children had moved off into the jungle, triggering a massive search operation. After 40 days, rescuers found all four alive.

The children had been traveling with their mother and an indigenous leader from their Huitoto community when the pilot reported engine failure en route to the town of San Jose del Guaviare. Soon after, a search operation involving the Colombian airforce, dog teams, local indigenous peoples, the military, and civilian organizations began to scour the jungle. Assorted belongings and footprints provided hope that the children were alive.

Second time is the charm

The search dominated headlines in Colombian and took another dramatic twist seventeen days in. On May 17, Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced the children had been rescued, only to walk back his comments the next day.

“I have decided to delete this tweet because the information provided…could not be confirmed,” Petro wrote on Twitter shortly after removing his original message. Indeed, the information proved to be wrong and the search continued for 23 more days.

This time, photographs of the children confirm the news, though it remains unclear exactly how and where rescuers found them. “They achieved an example of total survival that will go down in history,” Petro proclaimed at a news conference yesterday.

The Colombian Defence Ministry has stated that the children are weak but stable and likely survived thanks to their “knowledge from their indigenous families, their knowledge on how to live in the jungle.”

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a writer and editor for ExplorersWeb.

Martin has been writing about adventure travel and exploration for over five years.

Martin spent most of the last 15 years backpacking the world on a shoestring budget. Whether it was hitchhiking through Syria, getting strangled in Kyrgyzstan, touring Cambodia’s medical facilities with an exceedingly painful giant venomous centipede bite, chewing khat in Ethiopia, or narrowly avoiding various toilet-related accidents in rural China, so far, Martin has just about survived his decision making.

Based in Da Lat, Vietnam, Martin can be found in the jungle trying to avoid leeches while chasing monkeys.