Search underway for British explorer missing in Papua New Guinea

A Twitter photo of explorer Benedict Allen, taken October 11, said, "Don't try to rescue me" from his expedition to Papua New Guinea. Image courtesy Benedict Allen/Twitter

Nov. 15 (UPI) — Authorities have mounted a search for British explorer and television host Benedict Allen, who went missing after a planned departure from rainforests in Papua New Guinea.

Allen, 57, was dropped into the forests of the island north of Australia last month to search for the reclusive, mountain-dwelling Yaifo tribe. He was traveling alone and without a cellphone or GPS device.

Allen was expected to leave the area and the country on Monday, but sister Katie Pestille said he did not call as he was supposed to.

The explorer was not aboard a scheduled flight to Hong Kong, his management company said on Wednesday. Pestille added that missing a flight is out of character for him.

Allen is renowned for his books on modern exploration and for six documentary television series about his global adventures — in which he travels without modern conveniences and technologies to remote locations. His first, at 22, was a traverse of the Amazon River basin on foot.

The helicopter pilot who took Allen to the Papua New Guinea rainforest is searching for him, as are local police departments.

Gordon Macleod, former United Kingdom commissioner to Papua New Guinea, said “huge areas of the country have no mobile [telephone] coverage” and that even if Allen reached a village, he would still likely be out of communication range.

A photograph of Allen leaving for his trip to Papua New Guinea was posted on his Twitter page on Oct. 11 with the caption, “Marching off to Heathrow [Airport, in London]. I may be some time (don’t try to rescue me, please – where I’m going in PNG you won’t ever find me you know).”


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