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Mother and Baby Safe Five Days After Jungle Plane Crash

Five days after a plane crash in a remote corner of the Colombian rainforest, a woman and her months-old baby have been found alive, having survived in the jungle on nothing but coconuts.

Published: 26th June 2015 08:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2015 08:15 AM   |  A+A-

Five days after a plane crash in a remote corner of the Colombian rainforest, a woman and her months-old baby have been found alive, having survived in the jungle on nothing but coconuts.

Maria Nelly Murillo, 18, and her infant son Yudier Moreno, less than a year old, were flying in a twin-engine Cessna between the towns of Nuqui y Quibdo in the north-western department of Choco when their plane crashed early on Saturday afternoon.

The pilot was killed on impact and the pair - the only other passengers in the plane - were largely unharmed, apparently insulated against the impact by the plane's cargo of coconuts and fish.

But Ms Murillo's extraordinary journey did not end there.

Trapped in the wreckage, but fearful the plane would explode, she eventually managed to force open the door and carry her baby up a hill to a safe distance.

A rescue team arrived at the crash site the following day to find the plane empty, aside from the body of the pilot in the cockpit.

"We saw how the plane was, there was food, some peeled coconuts as if they had used them to peel out the water and feed themselves, we did not see her body anywhere, we did not even find traces of blood," said Rafael Caviedes, a search and rescue official who coordinated efforts by the air force and Red Cross.

The fact Ms Murillo had survived the crash itself was one in a million chance, he said. More rescue workers arrived, and they began to comb the area, finding a sandal and other items that Ms Murillo had dropped to mark her path.

But despite following the clues, their search was fruitless, and by Tuesday they were become increasingly fearful for the pair's condition, Mr Caviedes said. More rescuers arrived, however, this time with a helicopter equipped with loudspeakers, which began to circle the area with a message urging the woman not to give up in her fight for survival.

Ms Murillo, meanwhile, had constructed a makeshift shelter and bed for her baby to try to protect him from the elements.

On Wednesday, five days into her ordeal and still having eaten nothing but coconuts, she made her way to a nearby stream, and followed the riverbank in a desperate attempt to find help.

Finally, starving and exhausted, she spotted a Red Cross volunteer - and promptly burst into tears.

The mother and baby have since been transported to a hospital in Quibdo, the departmental capital, where they are receiving medical treatment.

Ms Murillo suffered burns to her face, arms and legs, but her young son was reported to be completely unhurt.



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