Sunday People

Small footprints and lost shoes ..clues children were still alive



RESCUERS share the moment they made their most precious find – four children lost for nearly six weeks in the Amazon rainforest after a plane crash that killed their mother.

As the kids, aged one to 13, were cared for yesterday it emerged they survived by living like “children of the jungle”, leaving a trail that helped them be found.

Footprints, shoes, nappies, halfeaten fruit and a baby’s bottle were all clues they were still alive and wandering around somewhere in the dense rainforest in Colombia.

Shelters made of jungle vegetation also spurred on the search for the Mucutuy siblings – Lesly, 13, Soleiny, nine, four-year-old Tien and baby Cristin, whose first birthday passed while they were missing.

And the three sisters and their brother were finally found by a group of soldiers and volunteers, who shared the amazing news yesterday and posted pictures online.

They showed the children wrapped in thermal blankets while one of the soldiers cradled the baby Cristin.

Tragically, their mum Magdalena



Mucutuy died along with the pilot and another adult when the Cessna 206 crashed on May 1.

The family was travelling from the Amazonian village of Araracuara to San Jose del Guaviare when the plane went down.

They are members of the Huitoto people and officials said the older children had some knowledge of how to survive in the rainforest.

Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro added: “Their learning from

indigenous families and...of living in the jungle has saved them.”

He said they had demonstrat­ed an example of “total survival that will be remembered in history”, adding: “They are children of the jungle and now they are children of Colombia.”

Their gran, Maria Fatima Valencia, revealed Lesly was used to looking after her siblings when their mum was at work, which helped them.

Maria said: “She gave them flour and cassava bread, any fruit in the

The siblings with their rescuers

bush. They know what they must consume. I am very grateful, and to mother earth, that they were set free.”

The children were winched up to a helicopter and airlifted to capital Bogota for checks by doctors.

Relatives are now waiting to be reunited with them and Maria said she wants “to hug all of them”.

Grandad Fidencio Valencia added: “When we found the children we felt joy. We are grateful to God.”

 ?? ?? CARE Soldier helps children
Baby bottle
CARE Soldier helps children Cessna Baby bottle
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