[Source: BBC News]
Four children have been found alive more than a month after their plane crashed in Colombia’s Amazon jungle, the country’s president has said.
The siblings, aged 13, nine, four and a one-year-old baby, were on board the plane with their mother, a pilot and a co-pilot when it crashed on 1 May.
Their mother and the other adults on board the plane died.
President Gustavo Petro said finding the children after weeks of searching was “a joy for the whole country”.
He called it a “magical day”, adding: “They were alone, they themselves achieved an example of total survival which will remain in history.
“These children are today the children of peace and the children of Colombia.”
Mr Petro shared a photograph of several members of the military and Indigenous community tending to the siblings, who had been missing for 40 days.
He said the children were now receiving medical attention – and that he had spoken to their grandfather, who told him “the mother jungle returned them”.
The Cessna 206 aircraft the children and their mother had been travelling on was flying from Araracuara, in Amazonas province, to San José del Guaviare, when it issued a mayday alert due to engine failure.
The bodies of the three adults who had been with them were found at the crash site by the army.
Preliminary information from the civil aviation authority suggested the children escaped the wreckage and wandered into the rainforest to find help, Reuters news agency reported.
Small footprints were also discovered, which led search teams to believe they had survived the collision.
The children belong to the Huitoto indigenous group and members of their community hoped that their knowledge of fruits and jungle survival skills would give them a better chance of surviving.
Indigenous people joined the search operation and helicopters broadcasted a message from the children’s grandmother, recorded in the Huitoto language, urging them to stop moving to make them easier to locate.
Colombia’s president came under criticism last month when a tweet published on his account announced that the children had been found.
He erased the tweet the next day saying that the information – which his office had been given by Colombia’s child welfare agency – could not be confirmed.