Military continues search for dog who helped find kids in the Amazon

‘Operation Hope doesn’t end until Wilson is found’: Colombian military vows to keep up hunt for heroic rescue dog who helped locate plane crash children after 40 days lost in the Amazon – but then vanished into the jungle in the chaotic aftermath

  • The loyal six-year-old special forces dog has now been missing since June 8 

A renewed hunt has been launched to find the hero rescue dog that discovered the four siblings who survived 40 days alone in the Amazon jungle after a plane crash killed their mother.

Wilson, a six-year-old special forces dog, was presumed lost after he ran away from his handlers in the jungle in Colombia until his pawprints were discovered miraculously leading rescuers to the children.

The loyal canine stayed with the youngsters for a number of days, playing with them until the search party arrived.

But during the chaos of getting the children out of the Amazon, the faithful Belgian Shepherd Wilson got lost in the jungle’s undergrowth.

The Colombian Military, however, have vowed to continue with its search for the unsung hero of the rescue mission involving around 70 members of armed forces, as the children, who are recovering in hospital, draw pictures of the dog they befriended.

Wilson, a six-year-old special forces dog, went missing as the children were frantically being transported out of the jungle 

The children who befriended the dog in the jungle have drawn photos of Wilson as they recover in hospitla 

The children are continuing to receive treatment at a military hospital in the capital, Bogota

Armed forces said that Operation Hope – the name given to the initial search party – ‘does not end until he (Wilson) is found’, the Telegraph reported.

‘We are united to recover our canine commando Wilson from the jungle and bring him back’, a spokesperson added, while Gen Pedro Sanchez, who led the operation, said ‘we’re going for Wilson, we’re going to bring him back’.

Dozens of soldiers are now searching through the depths of the jungle for the animal, while the four children he helped rescue, Lesly, 13, Soleiny, nine, Tien Noriel, five, and Cristin who had his first birthday while in the jungle, recover in a Bogota hospital.

The children reportedly keep talking about the dog they befriended following the crash.

Astrid Caceres, director of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, which is looking after the youngsters, said Lesly told them ‘about a dog that they had lost, that they didn’t know where it went, that it had accompanied them for a while’.

The oldest sibling even made a crayon-drawing showing the dog sat under the tree and near a river, waving its paw. Next to it she wrote his name Wilson. Soleiny also drew a similar picture of a brown dog with black pointy ears.

Even those members of the public in Colombia, who were gripped by the rescue mission, have been placing ‘Missing Wilson’ posters on their windows, with many sharing on social media the tag #Let’sGoForWilsosn and #WilsonNationalHero.

The eldest sibling, Lesly, drew Wilson under trees, appearing to be by a river 

Sofia Petro, daughter of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, greeting one of the Indigenous children

Around 70 members of the armed forces are now searching for the dog, which the children befriended and are speaking fondly of while they recover in hospital

The plane crash happened in Solano, Caqueta. The aircraft was found destroyed on May 16

The eldest of the four Colombian children who survived 40 days in the Amazon jungle is a thirteen-year-old girl who looked after her younger brothers

Wilson’s determined dog handler, Christian David Lara, still remains in the rainforest searching for his beloved canine colleague.

The Belgian Shepherd was one of 10 service dogs that accompanied more than 200 soldiers during the initial search and rescue.

The accident on May 1 involving a light aircraft, killed everyone else on board including the children’s mother Magdalena Mucutui Valencia, the pilot and an indigenous leader. The destroyed aircraft was found on May 16.

The siblings, members of the Huitoto Indigenous group, were dehydrated, malnourished and bitten by insects but are otherwise healthy, rescuers said.

Wilson was last seen on June 8, when Carlos Villegas, a member of the Civil Defense saw him from 40 metres away. He faces challenges to survival in the jungle, contending with snakes, jaguars, insects as well as armed gangs.

‘My partner tried to play with him, to activate him, to call him to see if he came towards us to catch him, but the dog got scared and went out and got lost in the jungle again,’ he said.

On Friday, army radios sang out with words ‘miracle, miracle, miracle, miracle’ – the army code for a child found alive and repeated four times to reflect all four children.

Military personnel unload from a plane one of four children who were missing after a plane crash at CATAM Military Airport in Bogota

Colombian Presidency shows Colombian President Gustavo Petro (back) embracing Fidencio Valencia, the grandfather of the four Indigenous children

President Gustavo Petro greeted a nurse tending to one of the four Indigenous children who survived an Amazon plane crash on Friday

President Gustavo Petro rejoiced when the news was revealed calling the children an ‘example of survival’ and predicted their saga ‘will remain in history.’

The children’s grandmother, Fatima Valencia, said after the rescue: ‘I am very grateful, and to mother earth as well, that they were set free.’

She added that the eldest sibling, Lesly had been used to looking after her younger sister and brothers while their mother was at work, which helped them survive in the jungle.

‘She gave them flour and cassava bread, any fruit in the bush, they know what they must consume,’ Ms Valencia told the BBC.

When the wreckage was found after weeks of hunting, the children had been found alive, with only signs of dehydration and insect bites, with Damaris Mucutuy telling a radio station ‘the children are fine’.

The president claimed, ‘the jungle saved them’. He added: ‘They are children of the jungle, and now they are also children of Colombia.’

Source: Read Full Article