Fresh after our last blog article which featured survivalist children, another awesome happy-ending story about another small child surviving the wilderness appeared last week in the media and we could not resist sharing it.
Five year old Benjamin Sanchez got separated from his family during a day trip walking in the El Salado desert in the San Juan province of Argentina. He told the El Clarin newspaper after his rescue that his mum had been chasing him and he was running, at first he could hear her but then he got lost and couldn’t see or hear her. He tried calling to her but she could not hear or see him in the undergrowth.
Wearing only a T-shirt, trainers and light trousers, he spent 24 hours alone in the desert at a time of year when daytime temperatures can reach 30 C, while at night it regularly drops to around 0 C. The area is known to be a habitat for dangerous snakes, scorpions and wild pumas.
As his disappearance dominated the Argentinian media, a huge search operation involving several hundred people was mounted, including police officers, civil defence employees and volunteers on horses and motorbikes. Benjamin was eventually discovered safe and well, sitting under a tree, by a former Dakar rally motorcyclist, Alberto Ontiveros, who reported that the boy was dirty, tired but well and the only thing he asked for was water. He was 21km (13 miles) from where he had last been seen, having walked the entire distance.
Suffering only from mild dehydration and tired, Benjamin was persuaded to board a helicopter (he is reportedly afraid of flying) and taken to hospital where he was checked over by medics, reunited with his mum and family and received a personal visit from the San Juan Governor, Sergio Unac, who tweeted pictures of Benjamin in hospital.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, the boy explained that he had survived by drinking water from a stream and eating grass; stating:
‘’it was cold, I slept badly, leaning on a rock’’
before stating that he was so happy to see his mother and that he had missed everybody.