Runaway schoolboys in Yilan, Taiwan spending a cold night under a bridge found unharmed

Two sixth graders in Taiwan’s northeastern county of Yilan wandered about after school on Monday and spent a cold night under a bridge after they got into trouble at school

The bridge under which the two runaway schoolboys spent a cold night

The bridge under which the two runaway schoolboys spent a cold night (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Two sixth graders in Taiwan’s northeastern county of Yilan wandered about after school on Monday and spent a cold night under a bridge after they got into trouble at school and were afraid of possible consequences stemming from the trouble, while dozens of villages were searching for them.

The two schoolboys were reportedly piqued by the punishment they received from their teacher, so they stealthily threw cleaning tools from their classroom on the third floor of a school building and damaged the rain shelter on the first floor. The teacher reportedly brought up the students’ responsibility to pay for the damage to the rain shelter they had caused and notified their parents of what happened. The two boys decided to stay outside after school as they were afraid of being scolded if they went home.

The boys’ parents panicked after finding their children missing and hurriedly posted messages about the missing children and their photos on Facebook, imploring the public to help find their boys, according to media reports. The post was immediately shared by many people, and local vigilantes voluntarily joined in the search effort.

Local vigilante deputy captain Chang Cheng-ding (張正定) told reporters Tuesday that dozens of people were mobilized through the social networks. They were divided into several groups and searched everywhere, including every temple, convenience store, or factory in the village where they could possibly be staying for the night. However, no trace of them could be found as of 11 p.m. on Monday night.

As a cold snap was hitting Taiwan that night, temperatures dropped sharply overnight, so the parents were still searching for their boys early Tuesday morning. Around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, villagers found the two boys walking in freezing rain and wind on a street in Dongshan Township, and immediately escorted them to a local police station, where they were later taken home by their respective parents, ending the extremely worrisome situation.

The two schoolboys reportedly wandered about 10 kilometers outside from Monday night to Tuesday morning, and therefore they took a leave from school to take a rest at their respective homes on Tuesday.

The school administration told reporters that the two boys had change with them, which enabled them to buy food from convenience stores, and that they also burned worksheets to keep warm under the bridge where they were spending the night. They were safe and sound when they were found, the school said.