Confusion as 4 Kids Missing After Plane Crash in Colombia Declared to Be Found Alive, Then Walked Back

Colombian President Gustavo Petro tweeted on Wednesday that the children had been found alive but that is unclear, even he says so.

On Wednesday, many around the world rejoiced after it was reported that four children were found alive more than two weeks after a plane they were on crashed in Colombia. But that may not have been the case, as authorities have walked back the declaration that the children were found. 

Colombian President Gustavo Petro tweeted on Wednesday that the children had been found alive. “A joy for our country,” he wrote.

The four children were believed to have been found alive 16 days after surviving a plane crash that killed three adults on board, including the children's mother. The children, ages 13, 9, 4 and 11 months, were reported to have been found alive in the Colombian Amazon, where they had been cared for by a group of Indigenous people who live nearby.

But Petro has since deleted his tweet, leading to confusion on social media and around the globe.

Contrary to what had been initially said, armed forces have not made contact with the children, the nation’s child-welfare agency, the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, known by its Spanish initials I.C.B.F., said in a statement.

“Information was received from the territory assuring contact was made with the four boys and girls,” the agency said Wednesday. “However, the military forces have not yet been able to establish official contact due to adverse weather conditions and difficult terrain.”

Petro again tweeted Thursday, writing, “I have decided to delete the tweet because the information provided by the ICBF could not be confirmed. I'm sorry about what happened. The Military Forces and the indigenous communities will continue in their tireless search to give the country the news it is waiting for. At this time there is no other priority other than moving forward with the search until you find them. Children's lives are the most important thing.

“However, since then, the tweet has disappeared, and the country's military cautioned that they have not made contact with the children, according to local newspaper El Espectador. Further reports suggest they have been sighted but not yet rescued,” he added.

The small Cessna plane was carrying seven people on May 1 when it crashed, according to Insider. All three adults on board died in the crash. 

"We think that the children who were aboard the plane are alive. We have found traces at a different location, away from the crash site, and a place where they may have sheltered," Colonel Juan José López told the BBC Wednesday.

Adding to the confusion regarding the children's fate was an interview Astrid Cáceres, director of the child-welfare agency, conducted with a local radio station, in which Cáceres said that the children were “fine” and under the care of an Indigenous community that had helped with the search, The New York Times reported.

“The level of precision in the details really encourages us,” Cáceres said of the initial report that the children had been found. “We are waiting to make contact.”

A massive search for the children involving multiple national agencies and armed forces has been under way since the plane crashed 16 days ago. More than 100 soldiers plus sniffer dogs and aircraft have been deployed, the Colombian Air Force said.

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