Sunday 24 September 2017

Young mum and baby son found alive five days after plane crashes in jungle

The light aircraft after it crashed in the jungle Credit: Getty Images
The light aircraft after it crashed in the jungle Credit: Getty Images

David Kearns

A young mother and her baby were discovered alive five days after their plane crashed in the jungle of western Colombia.

The 18-year-old mother and her child were found on Wednesday close to the crash site by officials, who said it was a "miracle" they were still alive.

"It's a miracle. It is a very wild area and it was a catastrophic accident," said Colonel Hector Carrascal, a commander of the Colombian Air Force.

A rescue worker holding an infant rescued after five days in the jungle Credit: Getty Images
A rescue worker holding an infant rescued after five days in the jungle Credit: Getty Images

He added: "His mother's spirit must have given him strength to survive."

Maria Nelly Murillo (18) and her infant son Yudier Moreno were traveling on a twin-engine plane carrying fish and coconuts when it disappeared from radar 20 minutes into its flight.

The pair were taken by helicopter to a hospital in the northwest of the country, but Ms Murillo has only minor injuries and burns while the boy was apparently unhurt.

The pilot died in the crash and rescuers found his body in the small aircraft.

Rescue worker helps Maria Nelly Murillo after her rescue Credit: Getty Images
Rescue worker helps Maria Nelly Murillo after her rescue Credit: Getty Images

A team of 14 spent several days scouring dense bushland before finding the pair.

They discovered the plane's doors open and suspected survivors may have clambered out.

"It could have opened on impact, but it could have been opened from the inside," Colonel Carrascal said.

"But that's when we started to worry. We didn't have a clue what had happened to them: they could be lost in the jungle trying to survive or they could have died already."

But coconut shells near the plane and a discarded flip flop in the jungle led them to believe Ms Murillo and her baby could still be alive.

They also found the baby's birth certificate near a tree, which convinced them that the young mother was trying to leave a trace of her path through the jungle.

On Wednesday, they located Ms Murillo about 500 metres from the site of the crash in a ravine on the banks of a river. 

She said she had managed to open the cabin door and run into the jungle as fire was spreading in the cabin.

She then reportedly went back for her baby, at which time she sustained burns to her face, an arm and a leg.

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