Prayers and pamphlets: Hunt goes on for kids lost in Colombia jungle


Colombia’s presidency said Monday it is leaving no leaf unturned in its quest to find four lost Indigenous children believed to have survived a plane crash three weeks ago at the edge of the Amazon rainforest.

Rescue efforts include studying satellite imagery, tossing pamphlets from helicopters, and appealing to jungle spirits for help, the presidency said.

Satellite images may show hints of a path the children — aged 13, nine, and four, along with an 11-month-old infant — took after the light plane went down on May 1.

The crash occurred between the departments of Caqueta and Guaviare and took the lives of a pilot, an Indigenous leader, and the children’s mother.

More than 160 members of the security forces are taking part in the search by land and air, as well as volunteers from seven Indigenous communities familiar with jungly terrain.

According to Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s office, the Indigenous participants engaged in “spiritual processes that include speaking to the jungle and asking that it speak back” to help find the missing children.

Colombia’s air force tossed some 10,000 flyers in Spanish and in an Indigenous language from helicopters instructing the children how to survive the ordeal.

Rescuers who believe they are on the trail of the children say they found a crude shelter and half-eaten fruit last week.

Over the weekend, the rescue teams dropped some 100 packaged kits containing rations and bottled water into areas of the jungle.

Petro said on Twitter last Wednesday that the children had been found alive — only to retract the claim hours later with an apology.

Relatives of the family say the oldest child is skilled at moving through jungle terrain, keeping hopes alive that they may have survived the ordeal.

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