Explorer Benedict Allen safe and well in Papua New Guinea after ‘missing’ scare
His friend, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, said the explorer missed his flight home via Hong Kong.
A British explorer who went missing on an expedition to reach a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea is “safe, well and healthy”.
Benedict Allen, 57, who has no mobile phone or GPS device with him, was dropped by helicopter in the remote jungle three weeks ago.
He was hoping to reach the Yaifo, a tribe thought to be one of the last on Earth to have no contact with the outside world.
In a statement, his agent Jo Sarsby said: “At 5pm local time (PNG) Mr Keith Copley, the Coordinating Director for New Tribe Mission in Papua New Guinea confirmed in writing that Benedict Allen was safe, well and healthy and is presently located at a remote airstrip 20 miles northwest of Porgera, Enga Province.
“Confirmation on exact location coordinates are now being confirmed in order to arrange evacuation as soon as possible.”
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said Mr Allen had tracked “huge distances” to reach the remote airstrip.
“He’s requested rescue and efforts are under way to try and get him out,” Mr Gardner told BBC Breakfast.
Mr Gardner, who has joined Mr Allen on some of his expeditions, said he was “quite annoyed with him as a friend” for leaving without a plan.
“I’m sure he’s come back with an incredible story to tell which will be fascinating and he’ll regale audiences at the National Geographic Society and elsewhere but we could have done without this worry on his behalf,” he said.
It is likely that a helicopter will have to be sent to rescue Mr Allen as there is no proper runway for a light aircraft to land, he added.
Concerns were raised when Mr Allen, who was expected to begin his journey home at the weekend, failed to make a flight home via Hong Kong.
His wife, Lenka Allen, previously told the Daily Mail that their children – 10-year-old Natalya, Freddie, seven, and two-year-old Beatrice – were asking: “When’s Daddy coming home?”
In a blog post on his website in September, Mr Allen described the Yaifo as “one of the last people on the entire planet who are out of contact with our interconnected world”.
“Just like the good old days, I won’t be taking a sat phone, GPS or companion. Or anything else much,” he wrote.
“Because this is how I do my journeys of exploration. I grow older but no wiser, it seems.”