Four children missing after Colombian plane crash 'alive', military say

The children, aged 13, nine, four and 11-months are thought to have gone in search of help after their mother and two other adults were killed in the crash.

Colombian authorities have said they are close to locating four indigenous children who were on a small plane that crashed in the Amazon jungle earlier this month.

Three adults were found dead aboard the Cessna single-engine propeller plane that crashed on May 1.

Authorities leading the search for the missing children discovered a small shelter, some half-eaten fruit and a fresh footprint leading away from the crash site.

Search leader General Pedro Sanchez stated that they can confirm that ‘they are alive, and we are very close.’

Last week, a pair of shoes and a nappy were found.

The children, aged 13, nine, four and 11 months are thought to have gone in search of help after their mother and the two other adults on board the flight were killed.

Dozens of military personnel, supported by Indigenous people from nearby communities, have been searching the area where the plane crashed.

Colombians have been debating various finds in the search and whether they might be linked to the children – including a baby bottle discovered one day and a pair of scissors found the next day in what seemed to be a makeshift shelter of leaves.

In addition, the company that owned the plane said in a statement that one of its pilots who was in the area had heard from some members of a local Indigenous community that the children were on their way to a village on a riverboat. But they never showed up there.

Another report said the children had boarded a boat on the Apaporis River heading toward the village of Cachiporro.

But the children were not on board when the boat arrived.

Last week there appeared to be a breakthrough when Colombian President Gustavo Petro took to Twitter to announce that the four children had been found alive.

But any elation was deflated hours later when Petro deleted the tweet, acknowledging that the children had in fact not been found.

The air force have dumped thousands of flyers into the forest with survival tips and instructions to stay put.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro / Credit: AP

Accusations have been thrown about that air traffic incidents in Colombia are all too common in the remote Amazon.

Speaking to CNN, Diego Londoño said that air traffic accidents “happen all the time here.”

While flying from his hometown to San Jose Del Guaviare, the engine on his plane began to cough before the plane began losing altitude.

He said: “We had not been in air for more than 30 seconds… suddenly, the engine started coughing. We could see the propeller slowing down and the plane losing altitude.

“It was all very fast, in a matter of minutes we were back on the ground, and nothing happened.”

While the 30-year-old walked away from the incident unscathed, the skies over the Amazon have seen many incidents. Since 1996 there have been 641 registered accidents.

In a statement to CNN, the Colombian civil aviation authorities recognised air travel in the Amazon is riskier than in other regions of the country.

They have said this is due to lack of maintenance and the age of the fleet.

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