Children rescued from the Amazon jungle after forty days
Anna Kane, Online News Editor, writes about a remarkable survival story of children lost in the Amazon rainforest
The events taking place in May and June in the Amazon rainforest have been William Golding worthy in their tragedy and improbability. On the 1st May, a small plane consisting of a pilot, co-pilot, mother, and her four children, set off from Araracuara in Columbia with southernmost San José del Guaviare as its planned destination. The plane crashed in the Amazon rainforest due to engine failure, having sent a Mayday alert, and was found two weeks later. Inside the crash were the bodies of the three adults; the children, aged 13, 9, 4, and 11 months were gone.
The search for the missing children was carried out swiftly as 150 soldiers with dogs from the Columbian army were employed, as well as volunteers from indigenous tribes and planes firing flares during night searches. Food supplies were left around the jungle in hope that they might sustain the children, and speakers blasted a message from the grandmother of the children, encouraging them to stay in one location. The terrain of the rainforest made for a difficult search.
The children belong to the Huitoto indigenous group, so the grandmother’s message was in the Huitoto language. The events have drawn media attention to the survival capabilities of the lifestyle of indigenous tribes in South America for the siblings’ father maintained hope, stating that his sister had once been lost in the rainforest for a month but had returned safely. Their father’s prediction was right, for the children were all found alive after 40 days due to the survival instincts that and foraging capabilities of the oldest child.
The events have drawn media attention to the survival capabilities of the lifestyle of indigenous tribes in South America
Pre-discovery, the Columbian president Gustavo Petro landed himself in hot water when he published a misinformed tweet that the children had been found by a rescue dog, after having been protected by a nomadic tribe. He had to clarify the mistake and suffer national criticism, serving as a wider warning to public figures to make certain that they are fully informed of significant events.
The actual discovery of the children on the 9th June was aided by the clues found along the way. These consisted of a child’s drinking bottle, a pair of scissors, a shelter of sticks, and footprints. Fatima Valencia, their grandmother, expressed joy at their discovery and explained how the eldest child was used to looking after the other three children while the mother was at work.
The latest news on the family is that the father Manuel Ranoque, had cheated on the mother of the children, and the flight was taken by the mother as a form of confrontation. Family politics aside, it is remarkable that such young children were able to survive the dangers of the Amazon rainforest for an extended period and teaches us the importance of self-preservation.