British explorer rescued in Papua New Guinea after going missing in jungle

Benedict Allen's friend says he is 'recovering from fever, poss malaria in Papua New Guinea capital having got disoriented on remote jungle trek'

Jon Sharman
Friday 17 November 2017 21:36
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The explorer once went missing for three months after being attacked in the Amazon
The explorer once went missing for three months after being attacked in the Amazon

A British explorer has been evacuated from the jungles of Papua New Guinea after being reported missing during an expedition to reach a remote tribe.

Benedict Allen, 57, struck out into the jungle three weeks ago without a mobile phone or GPS unit.

Before setting off he wrote on his blog: “This is how I do my journeys of exploration. I grow older but no wiser, it seems.”

Mr Allen was meant to begin his journey home on Sunday but missed his departure to Hong Kong, where he was due to give a talk to the Royal Geographic Society.

He was trying to reach the Yaifo, who he described on his blog as “one of the last people on the entire planet who are out of contact with our interconnected world”.

He added: “Last time, the Yaifo greeted me with a terrifying show of strength, an energetic dance featuring their bows and arrows. On this occasion who knows if the Yaifo will do the same.

“Nor do I have an obvious means of returning to the outside world, which is somewhat worrying, especially at my advanced age.”

Having heard nothing from him Mr Allen’s family feared the author and TV presenter had been attacked by drug dealers or other “bad people”, they said this week.

But a sighting near a remote airstrip on Thursday brought relief and confirmation he was still alive.

The explorer’s friend, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, confirmed he had been found – as he had predicted would happen.

Mr Gardner had said previously: “I would say the chances are that Benedict is going to be fine.

“Benedict always expected something like this. I had supper with him just before he left and he said, ‘Look, I’m quite certain I’ll probably be out of contact for quite some time and people shouldn’t worry about it’.”

On Friday Mr Allen was evacuated to Port Moresby.

His agent, Jo Sarsby, said: “We can confirm that Benedict Allen has been evacuated by helicopter and is now safe in Port Moresby.

“He is reported as feverish with suspected malaria. Benedict looks forward to being reunited with his family and friends but will need some time to get back to full health.

“He would like to send thanks for all the kind messages he has received.”

Mr Gardner tweeted that Mr Allen was due to be on a plane home on Saturday.

He added: “Explorer @benedictallen is now recovering from fever, poss malaria in Papua New Guinea capital having got disoriented on remote jungle trek.”

Mr Allen’s wife Lenka previously told how the couple’s children – 10-year-old Natalya, Freddie, seven, and two-year-old Beatrice – were missing their father.

Additional reporting by agencies

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