Colombia: Confusion over the fate of four children who disappeared in the jungle
Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro, who announced on Twitter on Wednesday the rescue of four children, including an 11-month-old who went missing in the jungle after their plane crashed in early May, backtracked on Thursday from what he called a “relentless search”. indicate research.
“I have decided to delete the tweet because the information provided (…) could not be confirmed. I am sorry for what happened”, he wrote on Twitter, assuring that “the military and the indigenous community will Will continue the search tirelessly”.
“A joy to the country,” he wrote on Wednesday evening, announcing the rescue of four children aged thirteen, nine, four and an 11-month-old, whom we haven’t heard from since the crash of the small plane. killed them. Moved on 1 May.
The plane, a Cessna 206, disappeared from radar in the vicinity of San José del Guaviare (south), where it was supposed to go. He was found on Monday with his nose crushed straight on the ground amidst dense vegetation.
Three bodies were recovered by emergency services, those of the pilot, the mother of the children and a leader of the Utoto indigenous community who were passengers. They were the only adults on board.
Hopes that the children were alive were kept alive Tuesday by the discovery of personal items near the plane, including a bottle and partially eaten fruit.
On Wednesday, more than 100 soldiers, aided by sniffer dogs, discovered a “makeshift shelter made of sticks and branches”, raising hopes that at least one survivor would remain.
The search has been made particularly difficult by the presence of wildebeest, trees that can be up to 40 meters tall and particularly heavy rains that have limited their range.
– “Alive and Well” –
President Petro explained that the information relayed on Wednesday on his Twitter account about the rescue of the children came from the ICBF, the public body responsible for monitoring children’s rights, but that it “could not be confirmed”.
The organization said on Wednesday that it had received “information” that four children were “found alive and in good health”.
In its press release, the ICBF underlined that “military forces have not yet been able to establish official contact due to difficult weather and terrain conditions”.
Avianline Charters, the owner of the accident plane, confirmed the organization’s version and assured that the children were able to board the boat.
The IAF is engaged in the rescue operation named “Hope” with three helicopters. On one of the devices, a loudspeaker “capable of covering an area of approximately 1,500 meters” broadcasts a recorded message by the children’s grandmother.
In the Utoto language, the woman tells her grandchildren that they are wanted and asks them to stay where they are so rescuers can locate them.
Officials have not given the reason for the family’s air travel. But residents of this region, which is particularly difficult to reach due to a lack of roads, are often forced to travel on small planes.
According to Colombia’s National Indigenous Organization (ONIC), the Utoto live in “harmony” in the jungle and maintain traditions such as hunting, fishing, and gathering wild fruits.
The reasons for the accident are not yet known.
According to civil protection, the pilot reported a problem with the plane’s engine before disappearing from radar.