Eighteen-year-old Nelly Murillo, who was on board a Cessna 303 plane with her 8-month-old son, has been rescued five days after the plane crashed on Saturday in the thick jungle of Northwestern Colombia. She has been called a “miracle mom,” news said.
She sustained first and second-degree burns, while her son has slight scratches. Colonel Hector Carrascal of Colombian Air Force described Murillo’s son’s survival a miracle, AFP said.
“It is a very wild area and it was a catastrophic accident. His mother’s spirit must have given him strength to survive,” the Colonel was quoted by AFP as saying. In a statement by the Colombian Air Force, it was reported that Murillo suffered wounds and some minor burns, but the child was unharmed.
The Cessna 303 plane was carrying Murillo and her son as the only passengers. The plane also carried fish and coconuts. Its pilot, Captain Carlos Mario Ceballos, did not survive. His body was recovered near the crash site. News said the 500 pounds of fish cargo crushed him.
Murillo was seated at the back of the plane, and after the crash, she was able to exit with her son from the plane before it burned. She narrated that they found shelter near a ravine in Alto Baudo jungle.
She managed to survive with water and some food she brought with her. Her son was breastfeeding from her “until it hurts,” Murillo said. She added that it was a wrong decision to walk away from the crash site. She wanted to go back to the plane to get some of the fish cargo but somehow got lost. When she realized the pilot was dead, she said she felt afraid and wanted to stay away from the site.
Acisclo Renteria, a Red Cross volunteer, quoted Murillo and said, “I just thought of my mom and my son.” Renteria said the survivors were found on the last day of planned search and rescue operations. When Murillo found the rescue team, she shouted “Help” and Renteria responded, saying “Stay calm” as Murillo attempted to stand up.
The search and rescue operations were made difficult because the crash site is a remote portion of the Choco region of Colombia and the only “road” tracks are rivers. They are being cared for at the Second City Medellin hospital.