A Brazilian pilot Antonio Sena has recalled challenges he faced in the Amazon forest for 38 days after his plane crashed.
The 36-year-old was flying a single-prop Cessna 210 taking diesel fuel to an illegal gold mine based in a secretive part of the forest.
As he was over the Amazon forest the planes engine suddenly failed but he tried his best to direct it over a valley and crash landed and he got out really fast.
Sena luckily survived with no injuries but the what made him scratch his head is where will he go while standing in the middle of the largest forest.
But, the pilot quickly grabbed backpack, three bottles of water, four soft drinks, a sack of bread, some rope, an emergency kit, a lantern, and two lighters which he said helped him during the 38-day trek in the jungle.
He said that on the first five days, he heard a team of rescue flights searching for him but never found him because the vegetation was too dense.
He said he was already giving in as he could not hear any more rescue flight trying to trace him.
“I was devastated. I thought I would never make it out, that I was going to die,”
He said the his odyssey started when he checked his phone and found it had power and decided to use the GPS.
Sena said that the GPS helped him so much tracking the route he will follow and as he followed the east route, he saw two airstrips.
The pilot followed the morning sun to stay in course sifted up what he remembered from a survival course he had pursued before.
“There was water, but no food. And I was vulnerable — exposed to predators” like jaguars, crocodiles and anacondas, he said.
Sena disclosed that after starving for a little while he chose to consume the same fruits he saw monkeys eat and managed to cut three precious blue tinamou.
“I had never seen such untouched, virgin rainforest. I discovered the Amazon isn’t one rainforest; it’s like four or five forests in one,” he said
According to him, what kept him moving while in the rainforest was the need of seeing his parents and siblings again.
Sena revealed that he accept the job offered by the illegal gold miners because Covid-19 had ruined livelihood.
The 2,400 hours of flight time trained pilot also opened up that he had opened a restaurant at his hometown year ago but shut it down due to covid-19 restrictions.
“I had to make money somehow,” said Sena.
“I never wanted to (work for an illegal mine), but that was the option I had if I wanted to put food on the table.”
Sena lost over 25 kilos in the odyssey that took 28 kilometers.
He said that on the 35th day, he heard a sound of relief in the forest for the first time since rescuers gave up on him.
He then walked towards the sound and luckily it led him to a a camp of Brazil nut collectors.
The first thing the nut collectors did was to help him make a call to his family to inform them he was safe and alive.
The matriarch of the camp identified as Maria Jorge dos Santos Tavares who has been gathering and selling nuts in the forest together with his family helped Sena trace his parents.
“She gave me food and clean clothes, I have tremendous affection for them.” He said.
Sena found meaning in the sense that he was rescued by a family that lives in harmony in forest which he was trying to help some people destroy it.
“Despite the circumstances that led me to that flight, being found by a family of gatherers who work in harmony with nature, who don’t damage the magical forest, one thing for sure: I’ll never fly for illegal miners again,” he stated.
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