In the remote jungles of Colombia, the search is still on for four missing children and hope endures that they will be found alive and well. The search and rescue operation, dubbed “Operation Esperanza”, continues for the infants, aged 13, 9, 4 and 11 months, whose mother was tragically killed in the crash of a single-engine Cessna 206 on the border between Caquetá and Guaviare on May 1.
Since the incident, 350 personnel including indigenous people and Special Forces Commandos have joined forces in search of the children. Special forces along with numerous search parties have travelled the Amazon region’s dense jungles, implemented airborne and ground patrols and utilized complex equipment to detect any signs of life from the missing children.
A new trace was found, some 500 meters away from the crash site. The military forces reported that a Nukak woman travelling with another indigenous group had discovered a pair of child-sized shoes, diapers and a green towel. Another diaper, baby bottle lid and broken cell phone frame were also found a further 428 m away.
Military commanders hope that since the children’s items have been found in the proximity of a small river, it means that the children were in that location between May 3 and 8, potentially alive and unharmed. They posit that the small footprints be witness to their journey out of the crash site and into the jungle.
The search for the children will continue and the Colombian Armed Forces have declared their commitment to allocating all necessary resources until they are found. They further state their support for the communities, their people and the families of the children who have been impacted by this tragedy.
Operation Esperanza serves as a symbol of solidarity, courage and resilience for the entire Colombian nation and across the world. As time passes, Colombians still believe and hope that the missing children will be found and reunited with their wider family soon.