A wanted British man who fled Australia on a jet ski nearly made it to his destination before Australian police nabbed him on an island near Papua New Guinea.
The 57-year-old man was last seen launching a jet ski packed with supplies and extra fuel from Queensland’s Cape York on March 25.
However, his ambitious escape plan was thwarted when police officers on board a patrol boat found the fugitive and his jet ski on mudflats on the eastern side of Saibai Island, just a few kilometres from mainland Papua New Guinea.
Police say the man will be extradited to Western Australia, where he is wanted by police over drug charges.
Australian Border Force, federal police and Queensland police launched a co-ordinated response when they realised the man may have been subject to an outstanding warrant.
The UK national almost made the 140-kilometre journey across the Torres Strait from Cape York to Papua New Guinea when the authorities spotted him on an island and arrested him.
The jet ski was towed to Saibai Island.
Australian Border Force Commander of Northern Command Jo Crooks said the arrest was the result of joint agencies working together.
“Anyone who thinks they can either enter or leave Australia through the region without detection should think again,” Commander Crooks said.
But the British runaway’s audacious escape plan isn’t the first time police have caught people attempting to flee Australia by water craft.
In 2016, six men dubbed ‘tinnie terrorists’ were arrested after police discovered they were plotting to sail a seven-metre fishing boat from Far North Queensland to the Philippines with the intention of helping terrorists overthrow the Filipino government in favour of Islamic law.
Between 2015 and 2016, the men collected weapons and clothing and sleeping mats from outdoor stores, including Kathmandu and Ray’s Outdoors.
Last month, four of the ‘tinnie terrorists’ were jailed for their roles in the 2016 plot.