Ticketholders await news of talk by explorer who went missing on expedition
- Credit: PA
Ticketholders booked to see a talk by a British explorer who subsequently went missing on an expedition in Papua New Guinea are waiting to see whether the event will go ahead.
Organisers had today been due to decide whether Benedict Allen's Tuesday, November 21 talk at the Guildhall of St George, King's Lynn - part of Lynn Festival's year-round series - would go ahead.
Mr Allen, a former University of East Anglia (UEA) student, was dropped in a remote jungle by a helicopter three weeks ago and was hoping to reach the Yaifo, a tribe thought to be one of the last on Earth to have no contact with the outside world.
He went missing without any mobile phone or GPS device with him.
Reports earlier today said he had been seen alive and well after his friend, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, tweeted: 'UK explorer @benedictallen has been sighted, 'alive and well' nr airstrip in Papua New Guinea after being reported missing while trekking.'
However, a spokesman for the festival said it was not possible to confirm if the Royal Geographical Society event on Tuesday would go ahead until organisers had spoken to him directly.
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'The news coming through is that he is alive and well,' the spokesman said.
'Unfortunately he is still not near a phone as far as we're aware.
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'We've therefore decided to give it another 24 hours.
'We understand Ben is the kind of person who doesn't like to cancel if at all possible.
'Fingers crossed he'll come for Tuesday but, if not, we've been assured he'll make another date in the year.'
In a post on his website before setting off, Mr Allen said: 'No outsider has made the journey to visit them since the rather perilous journey I made as a young man three decades ago.
'This would make them the remotest people in Papua New Guinea, and one of the last people on the entire planet who are out-of-contact with our interconnected world.'
Mr Allen studied environmental sciences at UEA wand went on expeditions to a volcano in Costa Rica, a remote forest in Brunei and a glacier in Iceland.
On UEA's alumni webpage, he said: 'At school I knew I wanted, one day, to go out and explore the world - but at the same time communicate it. UEA was my first choice of university, because it was modern and in touch.
'I chose to read environmental sciences because I hoped it would give me an informal base from which to launch out and achieve all I'd dreamt of. This it did.'
Mr Gardner said: 'Benedict always expected something like this. I had supper with him just before he left and he said 'look, I'm quite certain I'll probably be out of contact for quite some time and people shouldn't worry about it'.'