Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia, the mother of four indigenous Huitoto children who were rescued after spending 40 days in the Colombian jungle, has tragically died just days after the plane crash that led to their ordeal.

Who is Magdalena Mucutuy?

The 33-year-old wife and mother fought for survival for four days in the dense jungle following the plane crash, which also claimed the lives of two other adults, including the pilot. Despite her injuries, Magdalena heroically urged her children to leave and seek help as she lay dying, as revealed by her husband.

Last Friday, Mucutuy Valencia’s three daughters, aged 13, nine, and one, along with her five-year-old son, were discovered wandering alone in the Amazon rainforest, a full six weeks after the plane crash. The children had been aboard a Cessna 206 light aircraft with their mother when it crashed on May 1 while en route from Araracuara Airport in Caqueta to San Jose del Guaviare.

As members of the Huitoto indigenous group, the children’s familiarity with the rainforest and its resources proved vital to their survival. They managed to sustain themselves by consuming cassava flour and seeds during their harrowing ordeal. The discovery of the children prompted President Gustavo Petro of Colombia to express his joy on behalf of the entire country.

Also read | Four indigenous children missing in Colombian Amazon jungle after plane crash found alive

Magdalena’s widower, Manual Ranoque, who is the father of the two youngest children, shared that their eldest child revealed their mother had survived for approximately four days following the crash. Outside the hospital where the child survivors received treatment, Mr. Ranoque expressed that prior to her passing, Magdalena likely instructed her children to leave the wreckage site and save themselves.

According to Mr. Ranoque, his daughter informed him, “The only thing that she clarified is that their mother was alive for four days. Before she died, she told them, ‘Go!’ And ‘You will find out what your dad is made of… and what your father’s love is like.'”

The bodies of the three adults, including Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia, were found inside the plane two weeks after the crash, while the four children were nowhere to be seen. During the rescue effort, an indigenous man assisting in the operation shared that the children had two small bags containing clothes, a towel, two mobile phones, a soda bottle, a music box, and a torch when they were found. The children sought refuge in tree trunks to protect themselves from snakes, animals, and mosquitoes in the vast jungle area.

Following their rescue, the four siblings were airlifted to Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, and then transferred to a military hospital where they were reunited with their relatives, President Petro, and government officials. The children, aged one to 13, are currently recovering in the hospital and are expected to remain there for at least two weeks.

Also read |

Despite their traumatic experience, the children are already starting to share details of their time in the jungle. Efforts are being made to rehydrate them so they can regain their strength and begin eating again.

The brave and heartbreaking story of Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia and her children serves as a reminder of the resilience and courage of the human spirit, especially in the face of unimaginable challenges.