In the beating heart of the Green Hell

by Kyt Lyn Walken

This is a story we have all heard about.
We have probably already discussed it on Facebook groups dedicated to Survival, relying on our knowledge learned during the courses and our moments of retraining.
Or, at least, we have a personal idea, perhaps identifying ourselves with the protagonist of this extreme story.

We tried to conceive of despair, and immediately after this the need to survive in a hostile environment yet, at the same time, so exuberant in its wealth of resources.
For this reason, the understandable initial despair must be replaced by the will and need to try.
And that’s exactly what the protagonist of this article did.

It was January 28, 2021 when Antonio Sena’s Cessna 210 crashes in the mining area between the states of Parà and Amapà, in the beating heart of the Amazon rainforest, located in the extreme north of Brazil. The 36-year-old pilot, after encountering a technical failure and discarding the hypothesis of an emergency landing – impossible given the dense vegetation – then used the emergency parachute.

Man’s first thought is to facilitate rescue by staying near the wreckage of the aircraft, but the hours pass without any signal. Antonio sets off, without a map of the area and a compass: his is a wandering aimlessly, entrusted to hope.

The terror of being chased by jaguars and other predators is for him the driving force of his incessant moving from place to place, shouting, beating trees, confident that the noise can act as a deterrent.

It feeds on rainwater by not subjecting it to any purification treatment – it has neither the knowledge nor the suitable materials. Common sense tells him to observe the behavior of the fauna to understand what he can feed on. Antonio does exactly this, observing the fruit that the Atele monkeys (Spider Monkeys) eat and imitating them.

This gesture saves his life and leads him, albeit with 25 kg less, to the thirty-sixth day of his wandering in the Green Hell: an unmistakable noise from a chainsaw guides him towards a group of Brazilian nut pickers “[…] has not frequented that part of the forest for three years […] “(Source: BBC)

Among them is Maria Jorge dos Santos Tavares, 67, who helps him and gives him first aid. The story that Sena tells her is unbelievable, but the young driver bears on himself and on his body the signs of an event that will intimately mark him.
To survive is, first of all, to try.

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