Two teenage sweethearts have vanished from one of Britain’s top Catholic boarding schools – to elope on a dream trip, jetting off from Manchester to the Caribbean.
Public school sixth formers Edward Bunyan and girlfriend Indira Gainiyeva, both 16, went missing ahead of Monday morning classes.
The pair sneaked out of their dormitories with their suitcases and got into a taxi at 3am to take them to Manchester Airport.
They then jumped on a holiday flight to Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic.
Teachers raised the alarm after the couple failed to show for lessons at the £29,439-a-year Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe, Lancashire, where former pupils include Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and former BBC Director General Mark Thompson.
An international search began on Monday night but today after 48 hours on the run it is thought the hunt for pair had been narrowed down to the popular holiday destination by police in the Republic.
A Lancashire police spokesman said: “A 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl are currently missing from Stonyhurst College at Clitheroe. Both are boarding pupils at the school.
“They were last seen at shortly before 3am on Monday, January 13 at Manchester Airport and it is believed the pair may have travelled abroad.
“We are carrying out a number of inquiries to try and trace them to ensure that they are safe and well. Their families have been informed and are being kept fully up to date.”
The spokesman added: ”We believe that the two students were travelling together.
”We believe that we know their location and we are currently working with foreign police services to track them down.
“We are making inquiries at the moment to find out their exact location. We are concerned about their safety due to their age and the fact that they are travelling together without any adults.”
It is thought Indira, originally from Kyzylorda in Kazakhstan, enrolled at the 468 pupil school last September to study A Levels after attending Ovingdean Hall International Language College near her family home in Brighton to learn English.
Keep fit-fanatic Bunyan, from Cheltenham, Glos, who has dual British and Spanish citizenship is believed to have enrolled at the school in 2010 after studying at educational establishments in Portugal and Canada.
One picture on Bunyan’s Facebook featured the caption: ”F..k the world.” Another said: ”For every dark night, there’s a brighter day.”
Fellow pupils took to social media to find news of their friends after news of their life on the run emerged.
Within hours of the news of their disappearance, students on Twitter quickly started trending the hashtags #wheresbunyan and #hideandseek.
Fellow pupil and Twitter user @HanFogden described Indira as ‘a quiet girl’.
A spokesman from Stonyhurst College said: “Two of our sixth formers left the College during the course of Monday morning and we have been working closely with their families and with the police since then.
”We understand from the police that they may be overseas, and we are awaiting more news. Our main concern is to be sure that they are safe and sound, and to reunite them with their families as soon as possible.”
Stonyhurst College, which has 310 boarders, was founded in 1593 as a boys school but today is a Roman Catholic mixed boarding and day school run by Jesuit priests.
The school’s alumni include seven archbishops, a Peruvian president, a Bolivian president, a New Zealand prime minister, a signatory of the American Declaration of Independence and several writers, sportsmen, and politicians.
Seven have been awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry – paintings of them adorn the walls of the Top Refectory in the school.
Picture courtesy of Facebook, with thanks.