The mother of the four Indigenous children rescued after 40 days lost in the Colombian jungle remained alive for four days before succumbing to her injuries suffered in the May 1 plane crash, her husband said on Sunday.
The Uitoto Indigenous children – ages 13, nine, five and one – were found alive on Friday by rescuers, having wandered alone in the Amazon rainforest since the crash of a small Cessna 206 plane on which they were traveling with their mother, the pilot and a relative.
All three adults died in the accident, but Manuel Miller Ranoque said his injured wife survived briefly with their children beside her.
“The one thing that (13-year-old Lesly) has cleared up for me is that, in fact, her mother was alive for four days,” Ranoque told reporters next to the military hospital in Bogota where the children are being cared for.
“Before she died, their mom told them something like, ‘You guys get out of here. You guys are going to see the kind of man your dad is, and he’s going to show you the same kind of great love that I have shown you.'”
Manuel Ranoque, father of the four Indigenous children who were found alive after being lost for 40 days in the Colombian Amazon forest following a plane crash, stands on the tarmac as his children are being taken into ambulances upon landing at the CATAM military base in Bogota on Saturday.
Magdalena Mucutuy, the children’s mother, was an Indigenous leader herself.
It was in part down to the local knowledge of the children and Indigenous adults involved in the search alongside Colombian troops that the youths were ultimately found alive despite the threats of jaguars and snakes, and relentless downpours which may have prevented them from hearing possible calls from search parties.
“The survival of the children is a sign of the knowledge and relationship with the natural environment that is taught starting in the mother’s womb,” according to the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of Colombia.
They also ate seeds, fruits, roots and plants that they identified as edible from their upbringing in the Amazon region, Luis Acosta of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia told AFP.