Newly elected President of Colombia Gustavo Petro
Petro said he had deleted his tweet from Wednesday night in which he had announced their rescue. Photo by Ovidio Gonzalez/Getty Images

On Thursday, Colombian President Gustavo Petro retracted on his assertion that four Indigenous children who had been missing for more than two weeks following an airplane crash in the Amazon were found alive.

Petro claimed in a post on Twitter that he had removed the Wednesday night tweet in which he proclaimed their rescue.

"I am sorry for what happened. The military forces and Indigenous communities will continue in their tireless search to give the country the news it is waiting for," he added.

The children, including an 11-month-old baby, had been discovered alive in the dense Colombian Amazon, Petro had said on Wednesday, expressing "joy for the country."

Petro said on Twitter that the military conducted "arduous search efforts" before discovering the kids.

Uncertainty surrounded the news because he provided no information regarding the location or method of the children's rescue or how they had survived on their own in the bush.

Three people, including the pilot and the children's mother, were killed in the plane accident on May 1, and more than 100 soldiers and sniffer dogs were sent to look for the children.

In addition to the 11-month-old, the children, who are ages 13, 9, and 4, had been wandering around the jungle in the southern Caqueta department since the crash, according to prior statements made by rescuers.

Owner of the downed aircraft Avianline Charters reported that one of its pilots in the search region was informed that the kids had been located and "were being transported by boat downriver and that they were all alive."

The company did add, though, that "there has been no official confirmation."

According to the military, search efforts were stepped up when rescuers discovered a "shelter built in an improvised way with sticks and branches," which led them to suspect there were survivors, CBS News reported.

On the jungle floor, scissors, shoes, and hair ties could be seen among the trees in pictures the military provided.

Before the shelter was found, half-eaten fruit and a baby's bottle had been noticed.

Soldiers discovered the bodies of the pilot and two adults on Monday and Tuesday. They had been traveling by plane from a jungle area to San Jose del Guaviare, one of the major towns in Colombia's Amazon rainforest.

Ranoque Mucutuy, one of the dead passengers, was the mother of the four kids.

Heavy downpours and enormous trees that can reach a height of 40 meters made the "Operation Hope" search challenging.

Three helicopters were utilized to assist, and one of them broadcast a message in the Huitoto language of the children's grandmother ordering them to cease traveling through the jungle.

The cause of the jet accident has not been disclosed by the authorities. Just minutes before the plane vanished from radars, the pilot had reported engine issues, according to Colombia's disaster response agency.

Since there aren't many roads in the area and getting there by the river is challenging, air travel is frequently used.

The kids are indigenous Huitoto people, also known as Witoto, who are renowned for living harmoniously with the wild jungle. The local population gains expertise in collecting, fishing, and hunting.

Over many decades, assimilation, sickness, and exploitation have dramatically decreased the population.

Petro, Colombia's first Marxist president, made the announcement of the rescue. Since taking office in August of last year, he has been unable to implement the substantial changes to labor law, healthcare, pensions, and the judiciary that he campaigned on.

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