Bolivian boy, 10, survives icy hunt for mother

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The Independent US

A boy aged 10 who ran away from his home in Bolivia's highlands to try to find his mother has ended up in Chile after a 620-mile journey in freezing temperatures without food and water while hidden in a container under a lorry.

Franklin Villca Huanaco was trying to reach Cochabamba in central Bolivia, where his mother had been serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for transporting chemicals used to make cocaine. He hid in a metal container roughly the length of a person among the lorry's wheels, thinking it was heading to the Bolivian city. But it was heading for Iquique in northern Chile. "I wanted to see my mother," the boy told Chilean state television.

Authorities said the boy was lucky to survive the two-day journey crossing Bolivia's Andean altiplano, where temperatures at night can fall below freezing. He was wearing only shorts, a shirt and ragged shoes. The driver did not know he was there. A woman found the boy wandering the streets of Alto Hospicio township, which neighbours Iquique.

Franklin's parents were separated, and he had been living with his father and four siblings in Oruro, Bolivia. His mother, Zenobia Huanaco, was released from prison a month ago and had been working in the countryside outside Cochabamba. She said: "I've never been separated from my son until I went to jail."