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Four missing Colombian children found alive weeks after plane crash

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By Luis Jaime Acosta

BOGOTA (Reuters) -Four children from an Indigenous community in Colombia were found alive in the south of the country more than five weeks after the plane they were traveling in crashed in thick jungle, Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro said on Friday.

The children were rescued by the military near the border between Colombia’s Caqueta and Guaviare provinces, close to where the small plane had crashed.

“A joy for the whole country! The four children who were lost … in the Colombian jungle appeared alive,” Petro said in a message via Twitter.

The plane – a Cessna 206 – was carrying seven people on a route between Araracuara, in Amazonas province, and San Jose del Guaviare, a city in Guaviare province, when it issued a mayday alert due to engine failure in the early hours of May 1.

Three adults, including the pilot, died as a result of the crash and their bodies were found inside the plane. The four children, aged 13, 9 and 4, as well as an 11-month-old baby, survived the impact.

Preliminary information from the civil aviation authority, which coordinated the rescue efforts, suggests the children escaped the plane and set off into the rainforest to find help.

    Rescuers, supported by search dogs, had previously found discarded fruit the children ate to survive, as well as improvised shelters made with jungle vegetation.

Airplanes and helicopters from Colombia’s army and air force participated in the rescue operations.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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