Mom, Baby Survive Crash, 4 Days in Jungle

'It's a miracle,' says Colombian Air Force officer
By Brownie Marie,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2015 9:51 AM CDT
Mom, Baby Survive Crash, 4 Days in Jungle
The San Miguel River marks the border between Ecuador, blow and left of river, with Colombia, Thursday Sept. 16, 2010. The border between Ecuador and Colombia is about 640 miles long, traversed by the Pacific coast, the Andes Mountains and Amazon jungle.   (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

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." (More survival stories.)

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