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Plane crash and 39 days in the Amazon jungle. How did the three children and the baby survive?

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Colombian authorities on Friday announced the “miraculous” rescue of four children who were the only survivors of the crash of a single-engine Cesna plane. The plane crashed in the middle of a tropical forest in the southeast of the country. The siblings probably survived the crash because they were sitting in the back of the plane. The children then survived 39 days in the Amazon jungle.

The Cessna 206 plane disappeared from radar on May 1 in the south Colombianear San José del Guaviare. Earlier, the pilot reported engine problems. Soon after, the wreckage of the plane was found in the Amazon jungle, containing the body of the pilot, but no sign of the six passengers. The next day, it was reported that two more bodies had been found: a woman and a man who, according to local media, was the leader of the indigenous Uitoto community to which the passengers belonged. However, four children were missing: siblings aged 13, 9 and 4, and an 11-month-old infant, whose mother died in the crash.

A large-scale search began. The hope of finding the children alive was sustained by the fact that rescue teams occasionally found items belonging to them, such as toys, diapers, sports shoes, mobile phone accessories and a towel.

Columbia. Four children survived 15 days in the Amazon jungle

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Aeronautica Civil de Colombia

Siblings found alive

On Friday, 39 days after the crash, the military found the children near the border between the Colombian provinces of Caqueta and Guaviare, not far from where the plane crashed. The army released a photo taken in the middle of the jungle showing the siblings and a group of soldiers involved in the search for them.

Siblings who survived a disaster in the Colombian jungle have been found alive PAP/EPA/MILITARY FORCES OF COLOMBIA/HANDOUT

“Joy for the whole country. Four children who went missing in the Colombian jungle found alive,” Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced on Twitter. “They were together, they’re weak,” he told a news conference later that day.

The doctor of the military rescue team said that the rescued children were “safe and sound”, although slightly dehydrated. They survived by eating fruit picked in the forest, and on their journey through the jungle they slept in huts they built of branches. The media emphasize that the children belong to the local indigenous community and know the jungle well. Rescue teams complained about the difficult weather conditions and the danger of wildlife in the Amazon forest.

Military aviation took part in the rescue operation called “Operation Hope”, including three helicopters. Military search teams were assisted by local guides.

Why did the adults die and the children not?

The preliminary report of the investigators, which outlines the course of the accident, explains how the children managed to survive the plane crash.

“A detailed examination of the wreckage showed that the first impact on the trees occurred during the landing in a wooded area. This impact caused the engine, along with its cowl and propeller, to be detached from the aircraft structure. As a result of sudden braking and loss of control after the first impact, the aircraft fell vertically and collided to the ground,” an excerpt from the document quoted by CNN said. It also includes graphics showing the course of the accident.

Graphics describing the course of the accidentaerocivil.gov.co

Based on this information, investigators concluded that the chances of surviving this crash were largely dependent on the space occupied by those on board. “The fatal injuries were sustained by those in the front seats: the pilot and two other adults,” the report said.

The three children were seated in seats in the back of the plane. Two of these armchairs, despite hitting the ground, remained in place. The authors of the report also have a theory about how the youngest child, less than a year old, could have survived the disaster. According to them, at the time of the accident, their mother was holding them in her arms, which may have cushioned the impact.

Photo of the crash siteaerocivil.gov.co

Reuters, CNN, tvn24.pl, PAP


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