Four Colombian Indigenous children, who were discovered 40 days after their plane crashed in the Amazon jungle, survived eating seeds, roots and plants they knew were edible thanks to their upbringing, according to Indigenous people.
“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 (OPIAC).
The local knowledge of Indigenous adults, who were involved in the search alongside Colombian troops, also played a part in the children being found alive.
The four siblings, aged 13, nine and four, as well as a now 12-month-old baby, survived a small plane crash on May 1 that took the lives of the pilot, their mother and a third adult. The children’s family clung to the hope that the siblings’ familiarity with the jungle would see them through.
“They are Indigenous children and they know the jungle well. They know what to eat and what not to eat. They survived because of this and their spiritual force,” said Luis Acosta of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC).
Acosta, who took part in search operations, said the children ate seeds, fruits, roots and plants they identified as edible from their upbringing in the Amazon region.
UPDATES: Mother’s last words after Colombia plane crash: ‘Get out of here’
The injured mother of four Huitoto Indigenous children who survived a May 1 plane crash in Colombia told her kids to “get out of here” before she died four days after the crash.
The children’s father, Manuel Miller Ranoque, said his 13-year-old daughter told him the severely injured Magdalena Mucutuy died in the jungle with her children beside her.
“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,’” Ranoque told media on Sunday outside a hospital in Bogota.