BOGOTA - The four Indigenous children who had been missing for more than a month in the Colombian Amazon rainforest after a small plane crash have been found alive, President Gustavo Petro announced.
"A joy for the whole country! The 4 children who were lost 40 days ago in the Colombian jungle were found alive," Petro wrote on Twitter.
His post included a photograph of several adults, some dressed in military fatigues, attending to the children who were sitting on tarps in the dense forest.
"They are weak. Let's let the doctors make their assessment," Petro told the press in Bogota.
Originally from the Uitoto Indigenous group, the children -- aged 13, nine, four and one -- had been wandering alone in the jungle since May 1, when the Cessna 206 in which they were travelling crashed.
The bodies of three adults who had been with them -- their mother, the pilot and a relative -- were all found at the crash site by the army.
A massive search by 160 soldiers and 70 Indigenous people with intimate knowledge of the jungle had been underway ever since for the youngsters, garnering global attention.
Worried that the children would continue wandering and become ever more difficult to locate, the air force dumped 10,000 flyers into the forest with instructions in Spanish and the children's own Indigenous language, telling them to stay put.
The leaflets also included survival tips, and the military dropped food parcels and bottled water.
Rescuers had also been broadcasting a message recorded by the children's grandmother, urging them not to move.
Huitoto children learn hunting, fishing and gathering and the kids' grandfather, Fidencio Valencia, had told AFP the children are well acquainted with the jungle.
Valencia confirmed to AFP on Friday that the children had been found.
"I need a flight or a helicopter to go and get them urgently," he said.