The four children who miraculously survived 40 days lost in a Colombian jungle have been released from hospital, the father of the two youngest has told DailyMail.com.
Manuel Ranoque, 32, said they have been placed into the custody of a government institution that cares for vulnerable children, teenagers and the elderly.
He told DailyMail.com exclusively: ‘The kids left the hospital this morning (Friday). They are not with me, they will be looked after by the Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF).
‘They are totally recovered, they are in good health. I’m very pleased.’
Lesly Jacombaire Mucutuy, 13, Soleiny Jacombaire Mucutuy, nine, Tien Noriel Ranoque Mucutuy, four and one-year-old Cristin Neriman Ranoque Mucutuy are at the center of a tug-of-love battle between Ranoque and the parents of the children’s mother Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia, 34.
The four children who miraculously survived 40 days lost in a Colombian jungle have been released from hospital. Exclusive photos show the four siblings, Lesly, 13, Soleiny, nine, Tien Noriel, four, and baby Cristin, one, safe in their hospital beds at a military hospital in Bogota, Colombia
The four Indigenous children miraculously survived a plane crash and 40 days alone in the Amazon rainforest of southern Colombia before they were found last month
They have spent six weeks in a military hospital in Colombian capital Bogota after their astonishing ordeal, in which they survived a light plane crash that killed their mom.
A spokesperson for Colombian president Gustavo Petro directed DailyMail.com to the ICBF for comment when asked for confirmation that the children have been released from hospital.
After wandering alone for more than a month, the Huitoto Indigenous children were rescued and airlifted out of the Amazon to be recover in a military hospital in the capital Bogota.
The four children had been lost in the jungle since May 1, when the Cessna 206 in which they were traveling crashed.
A soldier stands next to the wreckage of the aircraft on May 19 that crashed in the Colombian Amazon forest
Colombian Army soldiers searching for the missing children in the rainforest. They were missing for 40 days following the plane crash
A map showing the site of the plane crash in a remote part of the jungle in Columbia
The pilot had reported engine problems only minutes after taking off from a deep Amazon area known as Araracuara on the 217-mile journey to the town of San Jose del Guaviare.
The bodies of the pilot, the children’s mother and another adult were all found at the crash site, where the plane sat almost vertical in the trees.
Magdalena died in the plane crash along with the pilot and an Indigenous leader
But when the wreckage of the plane was found after weeks of hunting not only were the children not found dead alongside the adults, there was part-eaten fruit that suggested they had all survived.
That sparked a huge hunt across miles of dense and remote Amazon rainforest, culminating in their rescue of Friday, June 9.
The children’s father, speaking to the press on Sunday outside the hospital, said that his wife had been severely injured in the May 1 crash, but that she did not die until four days later, her children beside her.
‘The one thing that (13-year-old Lesly) has cleared up for me is that, in fact, her mother was alive for four days,’ Manuel Miller Ranoque told reporters.
Two of the children made touching colored drawings of Wilson the Belgian Shepherd rescue dog who went missing during the mission to save them. The drawings were revealed when the head of the Colombian armed forces, General Helder Giraldo visited the children in the hospital last month
Colombia’s First Lady Veronica Alcocer (left) and Sofia Petro (right), daughter of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, visiting one of the four Indigenous children as they receive treatment
Colombian President Gustavo Petro (right) greeting a nurse while visiting the four Indigenous children who were found alive after being lost for 40 days in the Colombian Amazon rainforest
A baby’s drinking bottle and half-eaten pieces of fruit had been spotted before the shelter’s discovery
‘Before she died, their mom told them something like, “You guys get out of here. You guys are going to see the kind of man your dad is, and he’s going to show you the same kind of great love that I have shown you.”‘
Magdalena Mucutuy, the children’s mother, was an Indigenous leader.
It was in part down to the local knowledge of the children and Indigenous adults involved in the search alongside Colombian troops that the youths were ultimately found alive despite the threats of jaguars and snakes, and relentless downpours which may have prevented them from hearing possible calls from search parties.
‘The survival of the children is a sign of the knowledge and relationship with the natural environment that is taught starting in the mother’s womb,’ according to the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of Colombia.
The children ate seeds, fruits, roots and plants that they identified as edible from their upbringing in the Amazon region, Luis Acosta of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia.
Colombian Air Force soldiers and employees of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) lower one of the surviving children from a helicopter while they are airlifted to Bogota in San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia, on June 9
The youngest two children, now five and one, spent their birthdays in the jungle, as Lesly, the oldest at just 13, guided them through the ordeal.
‘It is thanks to her, her courage and her leadership, that the three others were able to survive, with her care, her knowledge of the jungle,’ Velasquez said.
General Pedro Sanchez, who led the search operation, credited Indigenous people involved in the rescue effort with finding the children.
‘We found the children: miracle, miracle, miracle,’ he told reporters last month following the rescue.
Army chief Helder Giraldo said rescuers had covered more than 1,650 miles to locate the children.
‘Something that seemed impossible was achieved,’ Giraldo said on Twitter.
In addition to the jaguars, snakes and other predators, the area is also home to armed drug smuggling groups.
Petro touted the success as a ‘meeting of Indigenous and military knowledge’ that had demonstrated a ‘different path towards a new Colombia’.
‘The jungle saved them,’ Petro said. ‘They are children of the jungle, and now they are also children of Colombia.’
A soldier provides medical attention inside a plane to one of the surviving children
Soldiers of the Colombian Air Force treat one of the children rescued from the Colombian jungle during the operation on June 9
Between May 15 and 16, soldiers found the bodies of the three adults and the debris of the plane, which was wedged vertically in the thick vegetation, its nose destroyed.
But the children remained missing.
Some 200 soldiers and indigenous people with knowledge of the terrain have been combing a dense jungle area of some 320 sq km (124 sq mi) – about double the size of Washington, DC.
The air force had dumped 10,000 flyers into the forest with instructions in Spanish and the children’s indigenous Huitoto language, telling them to stay put.
The leaflets also included survival tips, and the military has dropped food parcels and bottled water for the children.
One of the children holds a surgical glove with a happy face drawn on it, while being transferred to Bogota via air in San Jose del Guaviare
A Colombian Air Force soldier carries one of the surviving children on to the plane. After wandering alone for more than a month, the Huitoto Indigenous children – ages 13, nine, five, and one – were rescued and airlifted out of the Amazon on Friday, and were recovering two days later in a military hospital in the capital Bogota
Soldiers of the Colombian Air Force and employees of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) give medical attention inside a plane to surviving children of a Cessna 206 plane crash
Powerful searchlights were shone into the area ‘so that the minors can approach us’, search team member Colonel Fausto Avellaneda told the Noticias Caracol TV show.
Huitoto children learn hunting, fishing and gathering, and the kids’ grandfather, Fidencio Valencia, had said the children are well acquainted with the jungle.
At one point the search team believed it had come to within 100m (300ft) of them, but storms, thick vegetation and marshy terrain prevented them from reaching them.
Members of the indigenous community held traditional ceremonies ‘speaking to the jungle’ and asking it to give up the children.
But the jungle began giving up tantalizing clues that hopes were not lost for the youngsters. In photographs released by the military, scissors, shoes, and hair ties could be seen among branches on the jungle floor.
A baby’s drinking bottle and half-eaten pieces of fruit had been spotted before the shelter’s discovery.