NEWS
16/11/2017 10:18 GMT

Explorer Who Went Missing On Trip To Reach Remote Tribe Spotted Alive And Well

A British explorer who went missing on an expedition to reach a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea has been seen alive and well.

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.

(PA Graphics)

His friend, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner told BBC Breakfast: “He missed his flight home via Hong Kong.

“The good news is he’s been sighted alive and well near a remote airstrip in Papua New Guinea having tracked huge distances.

“He’s requested rescue and efforts are under way to try and get him out.

“It’s only a reported sighting but it’s the second sighting and it’s a tribal commission that’s been looking for him and they’ve reported him in.

“So unless they’ve got it horribly wrong – and I’m not aware of any other lost British explorers in that part of Papua New Guinea – Benedict Allen is safe and well.”

Mr Gardner, who has joined Mr Allen on some of his expeditions, said he was annoyed with his friend for being irresponsible.

“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,” he added.

“It’s hardly surprising that he’s missed his flight and he’s caused a lot of people to be very worried about him. People who care about him.

“But he’s an extremely tough, resilient and curious traveller.

“He likes to immerse himself among people, (but) I’m not sure that he’s that good at logistics because he’s really caused a lot of people a lot of worry including myself because I’m his friend and I knew this was going to be quite a tricky trip.

“And I wish he had taken some little safety net. I know he didn’t want to take a satellite phone with him or a GPS or anything else. He didn’t want any kind of modern intrusion.

“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.”

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner (PA)

Mr Gardner said it was likely that a helicopter would have to be sent to rescue Mr Allen, because there would be no proper runway for a light aircraft to land.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that tribal chiefs in the area where Mr Allen went missing say he has been sighted near an airstrip and is “fine”.

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.