Officials in Colombia say four children have reportedly been found alive more than two weeks after the plane they were riding in crashed in the jungle, killing their mother and two other adults, the BBC is reporting.
The children, who range in age from 13 years old to 11 months old, are believed to be in good condition after indigenous people deep in the rainforest found the children, the Colombian child welfare agency said.
However, no government official has seen the children yet, according to the BBC.
The Cessna 206 light aircraft they had been in was flying from Araracuara, deep in the Amazon jungle in southern Colombia, to San José del Guaviare, when it disappeared in the morning of 1 May.
According to the Colombian government, the pilot reported the aircraft was having engine problems before the plane disappeared from radar.
The plane, along with the bodies of the pilot, the co-pilot and Magdalena Mucutuy, the mother of the four children, were found at the crash site in Caquetá province on May 15. The children were nowhere to be found.
Search crews, however, found evidence the children survived and had moved into the jungle.
A child’s drinking bottle, scissors, some half-eaten fruit and a hair tie were found by searchers, leading them to the conclusion the children had survived the crash and were able to move away from the scene, according to CNN.
“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,” Colombia Army Col. Juan José López said on Wednesday.
The search teams also found a crude shelter made from sticks and branches.
Crews launched a search using helicopters, but heavy rains have delayed the government’s efforts.
Avianline Charters, the company that owns the crashed aircraft, said one of its pilots in the search area had been told the children had been found and that they “were being transported by boat downriver and that they were all alive,” CBS News reported.
The company also said that “there has been no official confirmation” that the children were completely out of danger, and thunderstorms in the area still posed a risk to them reaching safety.
One of the company’s pilots was told that locals there had been contacted by radio from a remote location called Dumar and been told that the children had been found. They would be taken by boat to Cachiporro, he said.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro tweeted the news, saying they had been located “after an arduous search”.
The children are from an indigenous population known as Huitoto.