6 boys, a shipwreck and a deserted island: The incredible real-life Lord of the Flies.

And as the ‘Ata story revealed, he may be right.

The castaways of ‘Ata: the real-life Lord of the Flies.

In June 1965, six students ran away from St. Andrews College, the Catholic boarding school they attended in the Tongan capital, Nuku’alofa.

The boys — Sione Fataua, “Stephen” Tevita Fatai, Kolo Fekitoa, “David” Tevita Fifita Siolaʻa, Mano Totau and Luke Veikoso — aged 16 and 17, stole a small fishing boat and headed out to sea. They left with few supplies, some bananas, coconuts and small gas burner. They had no map or compass, and only one of them knew how to sail.

Rutger recounts on Twitter what happened next.

After a day fishing, they fell asleep on board. A storm rolled through the archipelago. Strong winds snapped their rudder, tore the sails and broke the anchor, casting them adrift for eight days with no food or water.

Sanctuary came when they sighted ‘Ata.

The towering, rocky island had been inhabited long ago until a Peruvian slave ship arrived in early 1863 to round up the locals. Signs of the stolen community remained in a crater at the top of the cliffs: wild taro, banana trees, even chickens that had continued breeding for a century since the island was deserted, Rutger wrote in The Guardian.

Before they found these, the boys lived off fish, coconuts and seabird eggs. It was an unforgiving landscape, but they made the best of it.

In Captain Warner’s memoir, which he gave to Rutger, he recalled, “By the time we arrived, the boys had set up a small commune with food garden, hollowed-out tree trunks to store rainwater, a gymnasium with curious weights, a badminton court, chicken pens and a permanent fire, all from handiwork, an old knife blade and much determination.”