Thirteen-year-old Lesly built camps using hair ribbons to keep her three younger brothers safe while they were lost in the Amazon jungle for six weeks – as her aunt and grandmother tell of their pride.
The children, Lesly, 13, Soleiny, nine, Tien Noriel, four, and baby Cristin had been travelling in a light aircraft on May 1 when it crashed. The accident killed everyone else on board, the children’s mother Magdalena Mucutui Valencia, the pilot and an indigenous leader.
Officials in the South American country announced their rescue on Friday, bringing a happy ending to a saga with highs and lows as searchers frantically combed through the rainforest hunting for the youngsters.
The aunt of the four children said a ‘survival game’ they played must have prepared them for the ordeal.
Damarys Mucutuy told the Caracol news network that the thirteen and nine-year-old would frequently play the game before their time in the jungle. ‘When we played, we set up like little camps,’ she said.
Lesly, the eldest, ‘knew what fruits she can’t eat because there are many poisonous fruits in the forest. And she knew how to take care of a baby,’ the aunt added.
Read more: Power of the human spirit: How hero Lesly, 13, kept her brothers aged 9, 4 and just 12 months alive for 40 days lost in the jungle: Brave teen secured camps with hair ribbons, knew the safe fruits and even ground flour to eat