Friday, June 3, 2016

Missing boy, abandoned by parents, found alive after six nights in forest

A 7-year-old boy who went missing after his parents abandoned him in a mountain forest as punishment was found after nearly a week.

Yamato Tanooka was left in a wooded area in Hokkaido on Saturday as a "form of discipline" for throwing rocks at cars. He was reportedly without food or water.

The boy's parents initially told the police they were foraging for vegetables when their son wandered off, and when they returned he was gone.

After six nights alone in the forest and a massive search, Yamato has been found today.

Reports said the boy was apparently unharmed and in good health, but was hungry and immediately asked for food when he was discovered at a military base. He was then taken to the hospital by helicopter for check-up as a precaution.

A local newspaper said the boy had told the police that on Saturday night he walked some distance to the corrugated metal hut on the military base some 5.5 kilometers northeast of where he went missing.

A military personnel found the boy in the hut by chance during an exercise.

The boy had been drinking water from a tap outside the hut while he sheltered there.

Yamato has been reunited with his parents. His father, Takayuki Tanooka, 44, told reporters that the first thing he did was to apologize to his son.

"The first thing I did was apologise to him for causing such an awful memory for him," he said. "He nodded and said OK, like he understood."

He also apologized to his son's school, the search teams and everyone who had supported the family through the week-long search. He conceded he had "gone too far" when he ordered his son out of the car in the forest last Saturday evening.

"We've raised him in a loving family, but from now on we'll do even more to love him and keep a close watch on him as he grows up," he said.

[With reports from NDTV, The Week, The Guardian. Photo 1: Jiji Pr/AFP/Getty Images, Photo 2: AFP]

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