To call it a miracle might be a bit of an understatement: A teen mom and her infant managed to survive a plane crash in Colombia last week—and a subsequent four days in the jungle. Maria Nelly Murillo, 18, was flying from Nuqui to Quibdo with her nearly 1-year-old son when the plane went down for unknown reasons on Saturday. The Cessna's wreckage was spotted two days later; inside was the dead pilot. The mother and baby, listed as being aboard in flight documents, were gone—but a door was ajar. "It could have opened on impact, but it could have been opened from the inside," Colombian Air Force Col. Hector Carrascal tells the BBC. "We didn't have a clue what had happened to them: they could be lost in the jungle trying to survive or they could have died already."
But as a search by foot and helicopter began, a few clues began to appear: a flip flop, the baby's birth certificate near a tree, cracked-open coconuts. The BBC reports rescuers broadcast instructions urging Murillo to return to the crash site; she reportedly heard them. Rescuers yesterday spotted her near a river about a quarter-mile from the site, Carrascal tells the AFP. "It's a miracle," he says. "It is a very wild area and it was a catastrophic accident." While Murillo has wounds and minor burns, the child is reportedly uninjured. As for how they made it, Carrascal notes Murillo had access to "pristine rivers ... [and] water from the large leaves that are in the jungle," as well as coconuts the plane had been transporting. But Carrascal thinks there was something more: the child. "His mother’s spirit must have given him strength to survive." (Read more survival stories.)