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According to a new report, the children may have left the wreckage of the plane via the front door to the pilot's left

Photo: - / dpa

A month after the crash of a small plane in the Colombian rainforest, the search is still underway for four children who are said to have survived a plane crash and then for several weeks in the Amazon rainforest. Soldiers and indigenous people continue to search in the south of the country. Defense Minister Iván Velásquez visited the command post of "Operation Hope" in San José del Guaviare on Thursday and encouraged the search teams.

"I hope that you will soon reach our goal and that we will be able to say, to the delight of the whole country, 'We have found them,'" he told the teams in the jungle over the radio, as seen in a video released by the Ministry of Defense. "We are proud of the determination and skill you have shown in this operation."

On May 1, a Cessna 206 propeller plane crashed in the department of Caquetá in the south of the country. The pilot, the children's mother and an indigenous leader were killed in the accident. Since then, the four children, aged 13, 9 and 4 years and one year, have been searched for in the impassable region on the edge of the Amazon region. Soldiers and indigenous people found shoes, diapers, a baby bottle, an emergency shelter built of leaves and branches, half-eaten fruits and footprints. They assume that the children are still alive.

Colombia's aviation authority submits report on crash

The aviation authority has now submitted a preliminary report on the accident. The pilot of the Cessna 206 had reported by radio of problems with the engine before the machine crashed in the Department of Caquetá, it said in the report published on Thursday. Previously, the pilot had announced that he wanted to make an emergency landing on a river. However, the small aircraft then collided with the tree tops, the engine and propeller were torn off the machine and the aircraft fell vertically to the ground.

Apparently, the plane had already been decelerated strongly when it collided with the treetops, so that the impact on Earth was less strong. In the rear part of the cabin, hardly any damage had been found, it said in the report of the aviation authority. The children may have left the wreckage of the plane via the front door to the pilot's left.