"His mother's spirit must have given him strength to survive," Col Hector Carrascal of the Colombian Air Force said

By Alex Heigl
Updated June 26, 2015 11:00 AM
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Credit: Colombia's Air Force/AP

ABC US News | World NewsNo one knows why Marie Nelly Murillo and her 1-year-old son were on a small Cessna 303 plane crossing Colombia. The 18-year-old woman was traveling from the town of Nuqui to Quibdo with a shipment of fish and coconut when the plane crashed in the country’s jungle.

The pilot was killed in the crash, and Murillo suffered injuries and burns, while her infant son was unharmed. But the pair were in the middle of the jungle, with barely any resources.

Before being discovered by search and rescue efforts last week, Murillo wondered the jungle for five days, surviving on coconut water and unsuccessfully trying to trap rodents for food, Red Cross volunteer Acisclo Renteria told the Associated Press. Searchers were clued into her whereabouts by coconut shells and a discarded flip-flop found near the wreckage.

“It’s a miracle [they survived]. His mother’s spirit must have given him strength to survive,” Colombian Air Force Col. Hector Carrascal told the BBC. “It is a very wild area and it was a catastrophic accident.” The pair were flown by helicopter to a hospital in Quibdo and are recovering there.

“I thanked my little God for allowing me to save these two people,” Renteria, who told the Associated Press Murillo asked him to be her son’s godfather. “One thing is telling you on the phone what we experienced, but it’s quite another to have lived it.”