Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Couple attacked by native bowman

Matthew Scheurich who was attacked by an arrow-firing native in Papua New Guinea(AP)

A young couple who took a dip in a river in a remote part of Papua New Guinea are recovering from a harrowing attack by a tribesman, who shot the man with arrows before attempting to sexually assault the woman.

A doctor who treated the couple said the tribesman had been covertly tracking the pair before the attack near Nomad in the isolated North Fly District.

He fired an arrow at Matt Scheurich as the 28-year-old New Zealander relaxed on a river bank while his girlfriend, a French student studying tribal life, swam in the river.

The first arrow hit Scheurich on the right side of his chest, Dr Charlie Turharus said. The tribesman then emerged from his hiding spot and fired a second arrow at Scheurich which hit him in the left side of his chest and deflected down into his stomach.

"Normally they use these arrows for hunting, for shooting at cassowaries and bears," Dr Turharus said.

Cassowaries are large, flightless birds native to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The tribesman also threw rocks at Mr Scheurich's head, the doctor said. The tribesman then attempted to sexually assault the French woman, but she managed to bite his hand and run to a nearby village, where she activated a personal locator beacon.

Fortunately, an airstrip was nearby. Mr Scheurich was rescued from the riverside where he was "bleeding in pain and in agony" after ripping the arrows from his body, the doctor said.

But bad weather prevented the pair from being transported to a large regional hospital, Rumginae, and the couple were instead taken to the small and basic Kiunga Hospital where Dr Turharus operated.

The woman suffered minor injuries to her hand and arm as well as scrapes to her legs.

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