The fate of four children missing after a plane crash in southern Colombia remained unclear on Thursday after Colombian President Gustavo Petro deleted a tweet claiming they had been found alive.
In a new message, he added that reports of the find were unconfirmed and searches were still ongoing.
The children have been missing since May 1, when the plane they were traveling in crashed in a region of dense jungle.
This Wednesday, Petro had said in a tweet, now deleted, that the children, aged 13, 9 and 4 and an 11-month-old baby, had been found alive thanks to the intense searches carried out by members of the armed forces. .
“I decided to delete the tweet because it was not possible to confirm the information provided by the (child protection agency),” he said, adding that searches were ongoing.
“I’m really sorry this happened,” he said.
“Right now, there is no other priority than continuing the search until we find them. The children’s lives are the most important thing.”
The plane — a Cessna 206 — was carrying seven people on the route between Araracuara, in the province of Amazonas, and San José del Guaviare, a town in the province of Guaviare, when it issued a distress alert due to an engine failure in the early hours of May 1st.
Three adults, including the pilot, died as a result of the crash and their bodies were found inside the plane.
Preliminary information from the civil aviation authority, which coordinated the rescue efforts, suggests that the children escaped the plane and headed for the forest in search of help.
Rescue teams, supported by search dogs, had already found discarded fruit that children ate to survive, as well as makeshift shelters made from jungle vegetation.
Planes and helicopters from the Colombian Army and Air Force took part in the rescue operations.
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