Four children survived for over a month in the Amazon jungle following a catastrophic plane crash to finally be rescued last week. The group was airlifted from the jungle by Colombian special forces after a month-long search for the kids had not turned up any good news.
According to NBC News, the children were all found to be very thin but otherwise healthy following the grueling endeavor. The children ranged in age from 13 to 1 year old, making the feat even more impressive and proving just how adaptable children can be.
While many celebrated the return of the children, it was also clear that some amazing factors must have been at play for the group to remain alive and well during their long wait for rescue. In an interview, General Pedro Sánchez of the Colombian Special Forces said, “First of all, the wish to maintain their lives. The second one, they are Indigenous people, so they have immunity to so many hazards inside the jungle. And third one, they know the jungle.”
Colombian President Gustavo Petro also weighed in on the miraculous feat of survival. He said, “Their learning from indigenous families and their learning of living in the jungle has saved them.” Judging by what the local experts have been saying, these kids stood no chance had they not paid attention to the environment in which they grew up.
The stunning test of survival began with a massive stroke of luck for the kids. As airplane remains were discovered two weeks after the crash, only adult bodies were found. That indicated to first responders that the children had survived and left the aircraft. Having learned of this, Colombian forces made certain to expend every possible resource to recover the group.
Indigenous leader Lucho Acosta offered his two cents to CNN when asked for an interview, and the message that he shared painted a bleak image of exactly what those kids must have faced in the wilderness. Acosta said, “They were very weak, we could find them by listening to the cries of the youngest one, but they were really tired, they were no longer on the move, like in the first few weeks.”
According to Acosta, the rescue effort found a second wind last Friday before making its final push and locating the victims of the wreck, “They all added a little effort so that this Operation Hope could be successful, and we can hope the kids will emerge alive and stronger than before. We have been hoping together with the strength of our ancestors, and our strength prevailed.”
Operation Hope, as the search and rescue effort was titled, will serve as a point of national pride for the people of Colombia who fought tooth and nail to bring these children back from the brink.
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