Four siblings, aged 13, nine, four and a one-year-old baby, were found alive 40 days after their plane crashed in Columbia’s Amazon.

The Mucutuy family members credit the children’s indigenous knowledge of the jungle for their having survived the ordeal.

The Colombian military shared a photo of the children in the jungle. Picture: Reuters

The Huitoto people learn hunting, fishing and foraging at a young age. The children’s grandfather Fidencio Valencia told reporters the children are acquainted with the jungle.

After the crash, the eldest kid, Lesley, built makeshift shelters held together by hair ties.

The children foraged for food and evaded dangerous predators and armed militia groups.

After the plane crashed, the children survived for a few days on fariña, a type of flour they found in the plane’s wreckage. Thereafter, they survived on seeds and fruit from the forest.

Head of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, Astrid Cáceres, said that the ‘jungle was in harvest’ at the time of the crash, so the children could eat fruit that was in bloom.

The kids also used to play a survival game together, the children’s aunt told Colombian media.

John Moreno, leader of the Guanano group in Vaupes, in the south-eastern part of Colombia, said that the kids were ‘raised by their grandmother’, a widely respected indigenous leader.

‘They used what they learned in the community and relied on their ancestral knowledge to survive,’ he added.

When the children were discovered, around 150 troops and 200 volunteers from indigenous groups were involved in the operation, which covered 300km sq.


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Featured image: Georgi Kalaydzhiev via Unsplash

Originally written by David Fenning for Getaway Magazine.