November 16, 2017 / 1:09 PM / a year ago

'Missing' British film maker sighted in Papua New Guinea

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A British explorer reported missing while searching for a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea has been spotted next to an airstrip and is awaiting evacuation, a friend said on Thursday.

Benedict Allen, a documentary film maker, left last month to seek an isolated tribe, the Yaifo, in the north of the remote and rural South Pacific country of Papua New Guinea, but took no means of communication and left no evacuation plan or destination, his friend, Frank Gardner, told Reuters.

According to his blog, Allen aimed to be back in Britain by mid-November.

“Don’t try to rescue me, please - where I’m going in PNG you won’t ever find me you know,” he wrote on Twitter on Oct. 11.

But after he missed a flight home last weekend, friends and family raised the alarm.

“Benedict Allen is not out of danger yet. He is currently marooned in a remote part of Papua New Guinea that is only reachable by air after all the road bridges were cut due to tribal fighting,” Gardner, who is also the BBC’s security correspondent, told Reuters.

“Urgent efforts are now under way to try to airlift him out as soon as possible in case fighting erupts around him.”

Gardner had earlier told the BBC that a PNG tribal commission had been looking for Allen and that he had been sighted by an airstrip. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the sighting.

Allen, who calls himself an “adventurer” on his website, describes being “beaten daily for six weeks” on a previous trip to PNG as part of an initiation ritual.

He also describes trekking a remote section of the Amazon, “during which, dying of starvation and malaria”, he was forced to eat his dog.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook in SYDNEY. Writing by Melanie Burton in MELBOURNE; Editing by Nick Macfie

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