Latin America & Caribbean

Bolivian boy in search of mother ends up in Chile

Bolivia, the Altiplano surrounding La Paz, File picture - 2009
Image caption Franklin Huanaco crossed Bolivia's Andean altiplano in a truck, withstanding freezing conditions

A 10-year-old boy who fled his Bolivian home to find his mother has mistakenly ended up in Chile, travelling 1,000km (621 miles) by truck.

Franklin Villca Huanaco attempted to reach his mother in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where she had been serving a prison sentence, authorities said.

He made the two-day journey concealed in a metal container in a truck he believed to be on the way to the city.

The driver, who was bound for Iquique, Chile, was unaware of the stowaway.

The boy hid in a container roughly the length of his body, attached to the underside of the truck, reports say.

Authorities said he had been lucky to survive without food and water and the low night-time temperatures in Bolivia's highlands.

Franklin was found wandering the streets near Iquique and has been taken in by a local family.

He had been living with his father and siblings in Oruro, Bolivia, following his mother's imprisonment for transporting chemicals used to make cocaine, authorities say.

Zenobia Huanaco was recently released from prison and is now working in the countryside outside Cochabamba.

Mother and son have been able to communicate through a network link, broadcast by the Bolivian television station, ATB.

"Franklin my child, I'm here crying for you. Where have you gone, little one? I love you. You know that I was in prison and then in the fields and you told me 'I am content with my papa','' she told her son.

"Hurry, come pick me up mummy," Franklin said.

The boy told police and Chilean state television he had been mistreated by his 14-year-old brother in Oruro, the AP news agency reports.

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