Missing British explorer ‘spotted’


A BRITISH explorer missing in Papua New Guinea for about a month has been spotted near an airstrip, an unconfirmed said yesterday.
His wife, Lenka Allen, said according to a British newspaper, there had been a possible sighting of husband Benedict Allen  at a mission station.
The British High Commission in Port Moresby had been seeking the assistance of local authorities to locate the explorer.
Concern for the safety of Allen was recently raised by his family in the United Kingdom when he failed to begin his return journey home from PNG on Sunday.
He reportedly arrived in East Sepik last month to go on a solo expedition to look for a “tribe of head-hunters”.
Emmanuel Paul, the executive assistant to the British High Commission, said in an email to The National yesterday: “This is to advise that our staff are assisting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Papua New Guinea, and are contacting the local authorities.”
No comments could be obtained from police. East Sepik Governor Alan Bird said he was not aware of the matter.
A report in the Daily Mail in London this week said his relatives were extremely stressed because Allen, 57, had not started his journey home on Sunday as planned.
The family confirmed that he refused to take a phone or GPS tracking device.
Allen’s agent said the tribe he was searching for were a “scary” remote and reclusive group, and possibly head-hunters.
His wife, Czech-born former nurse Lenka Allen, 35, said she had told their children, Natalya, 10, Freddie, seven, and Beatrice, two, that “Daddy is lost”.
The couple recently moved from their home in Richmond, south-west London, to spend a year living in Prague, where Mrs Allen is up all night anxiously waiting for any news of her husband.
“It could be that he is still trekking and he’s fine,” she said.
“But of course everything possible is going through my head, that something has happened to him or he’s got malaria.”
She said her husband had got lost several times in previous expeditions, but not since settling down and having children.
She said, according to the newspaper report, there had been a possible sighting at a mission station.
“We are not getting up our hopes. It could be someone else. It is positive having this sort of news. We don’t want to get excited but hopefully someone has seen him. He’s out there alive, hopefully,” she said.
“He does know Papua New Guinea and has got contacts there. He got lost there a few years ago.”
Older sister Katie Pestille told the Daily Mail: “Lenka is being very brave but we are both very cross with him. It is typical of him to go off without GPS. If he had that, people would know where to find him. Unfortunately, that is not Benedict’s style, he likes to do things the hard way.”