Four indigenous children in Colombia have been found alive – more than two weeks after the plane they were travelling in crashed in thick jungle.

An 11-month-baby was among those rescued – as well as children aged four, nine and 13.

The plane – a Cessna 206 – was carrying seven people when it issued a mayday alert due to engine failure in the early hours of 1 May.

President Gustavo Petro said the discovery followed “arduous searching” by the military – and he described the news as “a joy for the country”.

Three adults, including the pilot, died as a result of the impact and their bodies were found inside the plane.

Preliminary information from the Colombian civil aviation authority, which coordinated the rescue efforts, suggests the children escaped the plane and set off into the rainforest to find help.

Rescuers, supported by sniffer dogs, had previously found discarded fruit the children ate to survive, as well as improvised shelters made with jungle vegetation.

Aeroplanes and helicopters from both Colombia’s army and air force participated in the rescue operations.