Mystery over ‘rescue’ of children and baby ‘found alive in Amazon jungle 17 days after plane crash’

18 May 2023, 08:02

A soldier and a dog take part in the search operation for child survivors
A soldier and a dog take part in the search operation for child survivors. Picture: Colombian Air Force Handout

By Asher McShane

Three children and a baby were found alive after 17 days wandering the Colombian Amazon after a plane crash, the country’s president has said.

But military sources in the country sparked confusion when they said the children were not in their custody and their whereabouts was unknown.

Colombian president Gustavo Pedro declared the rescue ‘a joy for the country’ after the siblings - boys aged 11 months, four and nine and their 13-year-old sister were reportedly found alive having survived eating jungle fruit before their rescue yesterday.

Petro’s Tweet remains live this morning, despite no-one knowing their location.

He posted online: "After arduous search efforts by our Military Forces, we have found alive the 4 children who had disappeared due to the plane crash in Guaviare. A joy for the country."

The children were believed to have been found by a boatman and may not yet have been reached by officials.

More than 100 soldiers scoured the jungle where the plane came down. Rescuers found a ‘shelter built in an improvised way with sticks and branches,’ leading them to believe there were survivors.

The children have been named as Lesly Mucutuy, 13, Soleiny Mucutuy, nine, Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutuy, four, and Cristin Neriman Ranoque Mucutoy, 11-months.

Soldiers found the bodies of the plane’s pilot and two adults who were flying from a jungle location to San Jose del Guaviare on Monday and Tuesday.

The children’s mother, Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia was among the dead.

There was some confusion overnight as neither the Military Forces nor the Civil Aeronautics confirmed the finding, despite President Gustavo Petro announcing the rescue on Twitter. 

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