The search for children belonging to the indigenous population is still ongoing.
Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro on Thursday retracted his claim that four children who went missing after a devastating plane crash more than two weeks ago had been found alive in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Petro announced the matter on Twitter and said that he had deleted his previous tweet in which he spoke of the children being found.
According to the President, the search for the children is still going on. Among other things, two hundred soldiers with tracking dogs have been dispatched to search for children belonging to Colombia’s indigenous population.
Three adults were killed in the May 1 plane crash. Rescue workers believe that the children on board the plane were lost in the jungle after the accident. The eldest of the children is 13 years old and the youngest is only 11 months old. The other two are aged nine and four.
On Wednesday, Colombia’s armed forces said the search had intensified after rescuers found a makeshift shelter made of sticks and branches. This led them to believe that someone had survived the crash.
Photos published by the armed forces showed that there were also scissors and a hair clip on the ground. Earlier, a child’s drinking bottle and half-eaten fruit were found in the forest.
During Monday and Tuesday, troops found the bodies of the pilot and two adults. Another of the dead passengers was the mother of the children. The family belongs to the Huetoto tribe.
His plane was on its way to San José del Guaviare, one of the most important cities on the Colombian side of the Amazon rainforest.
The search has been hampered by wildlife, heavy rain and huge trees up to 40 meters tall.
The searchers were assisted by three helicopters, one of which carried a recorded message from the air by the children’s grandmother. In his message in the Huetto language, he told the children to stop moving.
Officials have not speculated on what caused the plane to go down. According to Colombia’s disaster agency, the pilot reported engine trouble minutes before the plane disappeared from radar.
Air travel is common in the region, as roads are few and river travel is difficult.