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Benedict Allen
Benedict Allen
Image: Andy Butterton via PA Images

Missing UK explorer Benedict Allen found 'alive and well' near airstrip in Papua New Guinea

Benedict Allen was travelling alone to try to find the reclusive Yaifo tribe when he went missing.
Nov 16th 2017, 9:38 AM 18,441 17

MISSING BRITISH EXPLORER Benedict Allen has been found “alive and well” near an airstrip in Papua New Guinea.

Allen (57) had gone missing in the jungle of Papua New Guinea during an expedition for a BBC documentary.

He was travelling along to find the Yairo tribe, one of the few remaining tribes in the world who have zero contact with the outside world, when he went missing.

He was expected to travel back to the capital of Port Morseby last Sunday. However, his sister said she was expecting to hear from him by Monday but had received no contact and that he failed to take his flight to Hong Kong.

The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner, who had also travelled to Papua New Guinea, said Allen had asked to be rescued and efforts were underway to retrieve him.

It has not been confirmed when Allen will be brought home.

Concerns 

A helicopter pilot who dropped Allen off in the jungle a number of weeks ago begun efforts to find Allen after concerns were raised for his safety.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme about Allen’s disappearance, his sister, Katie Pestille, said it was “out of character” for him to miss his scheduled flight.

“It’s ghastly,” she said.

“For everybody else, it’s very exciting – all the expeditions and all the things he does, but for his sister and his wife, it’s more of a worry.”

Allen has previously travelled across the Amazon Basin and participated in a six-week male-only initiation ceremony where crocodile marks were carved onto his body.

He has also written a number of books on exploration and filmed his adventures on BBC documentaries.

‘I may be some time’

Allen has a website in which he documents some of his adventures through blog posts.

The latest entry on his blog is titled: “I may be some time…”

In it, he writes about the Yaifo tribe and notes that no outside has made the journey to visit them since the journey he made 30 years ago.

“In October, I’m hiring a helicopter to drop me off at the abandoned mission station, Bisorio – a forlorn place that was featured briefly on the BBC programme. If – and only if – it seems ethical, I’ll try to assemble a small party, as I did all those years ago, and head off up-slope into the mists to visit the Yaifo in their remote abode,” he wrote.

He said that it was somewhat worrying that he has no obvious means of returning to the “outside world”.

Either I must paddle down river for a week or so – or enlist the help of the Yaifo, as I did last time; together we managed to achieve the only recorded crossing of the Central Range. So, if this website or my Twitter account falls more than usually silent, I’m due back mid November.
So, don’t bother to call or text. Just like the good old days, I won’t be taking a sat phone, GPS or companion. Or anything much else. Because this is how I do my journeys of exploration. I grow older but not wiser, it seems…

Read: ‘It’s ghastly’: UK explorer Benedict Allen missing in Papua New Guinea jungle

More: ‘Emotional contributions’ about Fine Gael’s messaging on homelessness at party meeting

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Hayley Halpin

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