By Jonathan Mason, June 11th, 2023.
Four children who survived a deadly plane crash that killed their mother and two other adults on May 1st survived for 40 days before their rescue in the Colombian jungle by eating cassava (tapioca) flour and jungle fruits, officials and family said.
The children had retrieved a bag of cassava flour from the wreck of the plane.
The children, ages 13, 11, 4 and 11 months, were rescued Friday by Colombian soldiers who had been searching for the kids since the plane was found May 16 along with the bodies of the pilot, co-pilot and their 33-year-old mother. The children’s names are Lesly Jacobo Bonbaire (13 years old), Solecni Ranoque Mucutui (nine years old), Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutui (four years old) and Cristian Neryman Ranoque Mucutui (now 12 months old).
The children are members of the indigenous Huitoto people, which likely helped them navigate the jungle and decide what berries to eat.
Around 150 soldiers were flown into the area to help search for the children with dogs. Dozens of indigenous volunteers also joined the search.
Officials praised the oldest sibling, Lesly, who they said had some knowledge of how to survive and jungle and led her younger siblings before their rescue. The children’s names are Lesly Jacobo Bonbaire (13 years old), Solecni Ranoque Mucutui (nine years old), Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutui (four years old) and Cristian Neryman Ranoque Mucutui (now 12 months old),
What is Cassava?
Ccassava is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy root tuber, a major source of carbohydrates. It is often called yuca in parts of Spanish America and in the United States.
Cassava is predominantly consumed in boiled form, but substantial quantities are used to extract cassava starch, called tapioca, which is used for food, animal feed, and industrial purposes.
Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize. Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people.