In a remarkable turn of events, a relentless search for four children who went missing after their plane crashed in the Colombian jungle on May 1 has uncovered new leads. Items belonging to the siblings, ranging in age from 11 months to 13 years, have been discovered in two separate locations within the rainforest, providing a glimmer of hope amidst the tragedy.


Footprints and Items Found Point to Survival


Despite the loss of their mother and the other adults on board the ill-fated plane, search teams have found small footprints last week, strongly indicating that the children survived the crash. These footprints, identified on Thursday, are believed to belong to the resilient youngsters.


Indigenous Community and Soldiers Join Forces


Earlier in the week, search teams stumbled upon a child’s drinking bottle, a pair of scissors, a hair tie, and even what appeared to be a makeshift shelter constructed from branches, along with a partially eaten passion fruit. The children, who are members of the Huitoto indigenous group, have garnered support from their community, as they possess knowledge of fruits and survival skills crucial for navigating the challenging jungle terrain.


Despite the extensive efforts of over 100 soldiers scouring the jungle, no further traces were found until the early hours of Wednesday. Indigenous woman played a vital role in the search, discovering additional items approximately 500 meters from the crash site. Among the newfound items were a soiled nappy, a green towel, and shoes believed to belong to the second youngest sibling, aged four. The nappy is suspected to have been worn by the 11-month-old baby. In a separate location, the search team uncovered another nappy, a mobile phone case, and a pink cap matching the drinking bottle found earlier.


New Clues Suggest Children Roaming Jungle Alone


Indigenous community members have joined forces with the search efforts, while helicopters have been broadcasting a message recorded in the Huitoto language, urging the children to stay in one place and avoid further movement to aid in their rescue. These latest traces provide further evidence that the four siblings survived the initial crash, despite the tragic loss of their mother, as well as the pilot and co-pilot of the plane, as confirmed by the Colombian army.


While the items discovered suggest they were left behind between May 3 and May 8, the absence of blood traces offers encouraging signs. The army colonel leading the search mission emphasized that all indications point to the children navigating the jungle on their own.


Last week, Colombia’s president faced criticism when a tweet from his account prematurely announced the discovery of the children. The tweet was later deleted, with the president’s office clarifying that the information, initially provided by Colombia’s child welfare agency, could not be confirmed.