THE British explorer who went missing while searching for a lost tribe of headhunters in Papua New Guinea has been found alive, three weeks after he vanished.
Various news reports said Benedict Allen, who was in the Pacific island nation to locate the Yaifo tribal community in its remote forests, was found safe and well although he was still stranded in a dense jungle area.
A missionary in remote East Sepik province told News.com.au (via The Sun) that the explorer was currently waiting to be rescued.
“I can confirm that Benedict has not been able to get out of the bush yet,” Keith Copley, of the New Tribes Mission, said.
“He is located at the Hewa airstrip 32km west-northwest of Porgera. He is healthy, but requesting to be rescued.”
Copley added the communication in the area was “really bad”, making it difficult to talk to Allen physically.
“So the locals he is with are trekking two hours to make calls to me. He wants to be flown out and that’s what we are trying to sort out,” he said.
“The British High Commission is aware of this and they are working with me on it. He is in the best place right now, if he moves he could come across some rascal activity, people who will take advantage of him and who are dangerous.”
Marching off to Heathrow. I may be some time (don't try to rescue me, please – where I'm going in PNG you won't ever find me you know…) pic.twitter.com/BmH1DKdheS
— Benedict ALLEN (@benedictallen) October 11, 2017
Copley said the area which Allen was located is “very remote”, but there is a small airstrip in the area where would have to go to catch a plane.
“At the moment he is just waiting for a helicopter to pick him up but they won’t fly unless they are paid the US$10,000 for the trip.”
“I’m sure people are raising funds for him now back home to get him out but he can’t go anywhere as the bridge down from where he is also out.”
The 57-year-old veteran adventurer, who has produced numerous documentaries for the BBC, was scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong on Wednesday to give a talk entitled “The Great Explorer: Life on the Edge’’ to the city’s chapter of the Royal Geographical Society before returning to the United Kingdom.
However, some of his friends raised the alarm bells when he failed to show up. Before his trip, Allen did not bring with him any GPS device or satellite phone.
The father of three also left his 35-year-old wife Lenka Allen and children deeply worried.
While relieved to hear about Allen’s current condition, Allen’s sister Katie Pestille said he will be reprimanded when he gets home.
“When he comes home, we’ll give him hell for not taking something.”
Allen’s friend and BBC Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner said he was also delighted to hear about his condition, but questioned why he did not bring any device with him in one of the most inhospitable terrains in the world.
“I’ve got to say I’m quite annoyed with him as his friend. He left with no plan, he had no evacuation plan, he didn’t give anybody any idea of where he was going.”