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Missing Colombian children from deadly jungle plane crash found alive after 40-day search

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Four Colombian children were found alive Friday after they were missing for over a month from a deadly jungle plane crash, according to the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

The children — whose ages range from 11 months to 13 years old — had been passengers on a plane that crashed May 1. 

The flight departed from the southern town of Araracuara en route to a northern part of Colombia, when it experienced engine failure.

In this photo released by Colombia’s Armed Forces Press Office, soldiers and Indigenous men tend to the four Indigenous brothers who were missing after a deadly plane crash, in the Solano jungle, Caqueta state, Colombia, Friday, June 9, 2023. Colombian President Gustavo Petro said Friday that authorities found alive the four children who survived a small plane crash 40 days ago and had been the subject of an intense search in the Amazon jungle.  (Colombia’s Armed Force Press Office via AP)

The pilot of the Cessna C206 had declared an emergency before the crash. 

Two weeks after the crash, authorities found the plane and discovered the remains of both of the pilot and the copilot, along with the children’s mother, Magdalena Mucutuy.

The 33-year-old mother had been traveling with her four children: a 13-year-old, 4-year-old, 9-year-old and an 11-month-old baby. 

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Jungle search children

FILE – In this photo released by Colombia’s Armed Forces Press Office, a soldier stands in front of the wreckage of a Cessna C206, May 18, 2023, that crashed in the jungle of Solano in the Caqueta state of Colombia. The discovery of footprints on May 30 of a small foot rekindled the hope of finding the children alive after their plane crashed on May 1. Soldiers found the wreckage and the bodies of three adults, including the pilot and the children’s mother.  (Colombia’s Armed Forces Press Office via AP, File)

El Tiempo reported the minors were discovered Friday — 40 days after the crash — by uniformed officials who were assisted by indigenous searchers. The children were reportedly malnourished and promptly given medical care.

Authorities were confident that they would find the children alive after recently discovering footprints in the jungle. 

Last week, officials identified footprints may have belonged to the 13-year-old girl, possibly proving the children were finding their way out of the jungle.

Because the children were part of the indigenous group Huitoto, they were likely to successfully traverse the jungle and identify edible fruits, according to the BBC.

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Special forces search

General Pedro Sanchez, the commander of the joint command of special operations of the military forces, welcomes Indigenous people the airport in San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia, Sunday, May 21, 2023, after they arrived to help in the search of four Indigenous children who are missing after a deadly plane crash. The May 30 discovery of footprints of a small foot rekindled the hope of finding the children alive after their plane crashed on May 1. Soldiers found the wreckage and the bodies of three adults, including the pilot and the children’s mother.  (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

“We have a 100% expectation of finding them alive,” Gen. Pedro Sánchez, commander of the Joint Command of Special Operations, previously said to The Associated Press.

“We found elements that are very complex to find in the jungle. For example, the lid of a baby bottle. If we’ve found that, why don’t we find the rest? Because the children are on the move,” Sánchez explained.

According to Sánchez, the rescue team even deployed helicopters that played audio of the children’s grandmother to try to find them. 

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No other details are available at this time. 

Fox News’ Peter Aitken and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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