Helicopter Crew Hostage Crisis Averted in Papua New Guinea

MT. SISA, HELA PROVINCE, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A tense situation in the Mt. Sisa region of Papua New Guinea was resolved peacefully yesterday after a Hevilift helicopter crew hostage situation was averted. The Australian pilot and two Papua New Guinean subcontractors were released unharmed following negotiations and the deployment of security forces.

The incident unfolded around 9:00 am on Monday when the helicopter crew, refueling a Digicel tower, were taken captive by unidentified individuals. Prompt action was taken by authorities, with members of the Defence Force, Mobile Squad 07, and Mobile Squad 20 deployed to the area to avert the helicopter crew hostage situation.

The kidnappers initially demanded a ransom for the crew’s release. Through collaborative efforts involving security forces and local leaders, including auxiliary police, negotiations progressed, and the hostages were ultimately released unharmed. The Hevilift helicopter was then flown to Hides with the crew on board.

Police Commissioner David Manning confirmed a search to apprehend the perpetrators is underway. He emphasized that they would face “lethal force” if they resisted arrest or posed a threat to the public. Commissioner Manning also commended the collaborative efforts of security forces, local leaders, and village auxiliary police in securing the safe release of the hostages.

This incident, occurring close to the anniversary of a similar kidnapping in Mt. Bosavi last year, highlights ongoing security concerns in the region. Commissioner Manning acknowledged the importance of learning from past experiences and expressed confidence in the ongoing investigation. He assured the public that further information regarding the search for the perpetrators would be released as it becomes available.

Bosavi Kidnapping 26th February 2023: New Zealand professor and the other two PNG women airlifted out of SHP.

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