Search goes on for missing Stonyhurst students

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A search operation is ongoing to find two teenage students who fled from Stonyhurst College during the night earlier this week to the Dominican Republic.

Headmaster Andrew Johnson told the Clitheroe Advertiser: “It has been several days now and it is a worry. We have been talking to the parents of both of the pupils and offering our support.

“Our overriding concern is a pastoral concern for these two young people that they are safe and they that come back.”

He added: “We have supported the police fully and have been in regular contact with them. We really want these young people to be found safe. We don’t know that they have been found yet. We believe the police have identified an area where they may be, but as far as I’m aware they haven’t yet been found.”

The 16-year-old sixth-form boarders at the historic Jesuit college – named unofficially as Edward Bunyan and Indira Gainiyeva – were seen boarding a plane at Manchester Airport at about 3 am on Monday after sneaking away around midnight. The exclusive Jesuit college, where boarders’ fees are more than £29,000 a year, alerted police the same day.

The pair are said to have told friends they had booked tickets online and were going for a romantic break in the Caribbean.

Lancashire police are liaising with police in the republic bordering Haiti.

Mr Johnson added that once the students had been found and returned to their families and the college safe and sound, a review would be conducted.

“Like any good organisation would, afterwards we will review every aspect of the situation,” said Mr Johnson. “We want to see that everything that could have been done has been done and approach it with an open mind.”

He added that Stonyhurst is a boarding school, not a prison, and although the college does not have iron bars on the windows, it isn’t an easy place to get out of.

“We expect our pupils to respect the curfew,” he said.

Mr Johnson went on to praise the work of the college’s security team whose job he explained is to stop people from getting into the college and to protect pupils from intrusion.