Missing explorer discovered in Papua New Guinea
Benedict Allen disappeared while searching for a remote tribe in the South Pacific nation
File photograph of explorer Benedict Allen, who was reported missing after attempting to find a tribe in Papua New Guinea. File photograph: Andy Butterton/PA Wire
A British explorer reported missing while searching for a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea has been spotted next to an airstrip and is awaiting evacuation, a friend said on Thursday.
Benedict Allen, a documentary film-maker, left Britain last month to seek an isolated tribe, the Yaifo, in the north of the South Pacific country, but took no means of communication and left no evacuation plan or destination, his friend, Frank Gardner, told Reuters.
According to his blog, Allen aimed to be back in Britain by mid-November.
“Don’t try to rescue me, please – where I’m going in PNG you won’t ever find me you know,” he wrote on Twitter on October 11th.
But after he missed a flight home last weekend, friends and family raised the alarm.
“Benedict Allen is not out of danger yet. He is currently marooned in a remote part of Papua New Guinea that is only reachable by air after all the road bridges were cut due to tribal fighting,” Gardner, who is also the BBC’s security correspondent, told Reuters.
“Urgent efforts are now under way to try to airlift him out as soon as possible in case fighting erupts around him.”
Gardner had earlier told the BBC that a Papua New Guinea tribal commission had been looking for Allen and that he had been sighted near an airstrip. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the sighting.
Allen, who calls himself an “adventurer” on his website, had previously described being “beaten daily for six weeks” on a previous trip to Papua New Guinea as part of an initiation ritual.
He also described trekking a remote section of the Amazon, “during which, dying of starvation and malaria”, he was forced to eat his dog.