Home Headlines How could 4 children survive 40 days without food in the Colombian jungle?

How could 4 children survive 40 days without food in the Colombian jungle?

by Sofia Navarro
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In the depths of the Colombian jungle, late at night, a message spread through army radios, bringing forth a miracle that the nation had been longing for: “Miracle, miracle, miracle, miracle.”

Military communication revealed that four children, who had been missing in the jungle for 40 days, had been found alive. These young individuals were members of the Huitoto indigenous community and had disappeared when the light aircraft they were on crashed into the Amazon on the early morning of May 1st.

Tragically, their mother did not survive the accident, leaving the children, aged 13, nine, four, and one, stranded in an area teeming with dangerous creatures such as snakes, jaguars, and mosquitoes.

Initially, rescuers held grave concerns, but footprints, partially eaten wild fruit, and other clues instilled hope that the children had ventured away from the crash site in search of help.

Over the following six weeks, the children faced the harsh elements and daunting odds, demonstrating what Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro described as “a remarkable tale of resilience that will be remembered throughout history.”

The Mucutuy family stood out as exceptionally equipped children to face such a challenging ordeal.

From a young age, the Huitoto people are taught essential skills in hunting, fishing, and gathering. Fidencio Valencia, their grandfather, informed the media that the eldest children, Lesly and Soleiny, were already familiar with the ways of the jungle.

In an interview with Colombian media, Damarys Mucutuy, the children’s aunt, shared that the family used to engage in a “survival game” during their upbringing. She reminisced, “When we played, we would create small camps.” She further mentioned that thirteen-year-old Lesly possessed knowledge about which fruits were unsafe to eat, as the forest harbored numerous poisonous ones. Additionally, Lesly was skilled in caring for an infant.

As the search efforts persisted, authorities in Bogota faced mounting criticism for the slow progress. President Petro received backlash when his office mistakenly tweeted that the children had been found.

To support the search, authorities distributed 10,000 leaflets containing survival tips in both Spanish and the indigenous Huitoto language. Helicopters were deployed, broadcasting messages from the children’s grandmother through speakers, aiming to reassure them that they were being actively sought.

Unbeknownst to the media, the army was steadily closing in on finding the family. On multiple occasions, rescue teams came within a proximity of 20 to 50 meters (66 to 164 feet) from the location where the children were eventually discovered, revealed Gen Pedro Sánchez, the search commander.

At the time of the children’s rescue, the operation involved approximately 150 troops and 200 volunteers from local indigenous groups. Together, they meticulously combed an expansive area spanning over 300 square kilometers (124 square miles).

According to one of the rescuers speaking to Colombia’s RTVC, the first words uttered by Lesly, the eldest daughter who was cradling the baby, were, “I’m hungry.” Another boy, who had been lying down, rose and sorrowfully stated, “My mum is dead.”

TYT Newsroom

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