Fugitive attempts to flee Australia on jet ski
A fugitive attempting to flee Australia on jet ski came agonizingly close to freedom before authorities caught him, following a 150 kilometer (93 mile) chase across the Torres Strait.
The man, thought to be a 57-year-old British fugitive wanted on drug charges, was trying to reach Papua New Guinea and was “possibly armed with a crossbow and carrying additional fuel and supplies,” according to an Australian Border Force (ABF) press release.
He was apprehended on mud flats off the eastern side of Saibai Island, just kilometers from the Papua New Guinea mainland, according to the ABF.
An ABF spokesperson later confirmed to CNN that the man they apprehended was a UK citizen and that he was not in possession of a crossbow, as suggested in earlier reports.
The action movie-style escape began in Queensland, after locals alerted police that the suspect had been seen launching the jet ski from Punsand Bay, on the northern tip of mainland Australia.
Local councilors and community members worked with authorities to identify the suspect’s escape route “and his intention to purchase fuel to facilitate his travel to PNG,” according to the ABF release.
Officers from the ABF, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Queensland Police Service (QPS) scrambled and gave chase on an ABF cutter.
When they approached Saibai Island, an Australian possession off the southern coast of Papua New Guinea, a smaller boat was launched and the suspected was apprehended.
An AFP spokesperson said that the successful apprehension sent “a strong message to would-be fugitives — our reach across Australia is second to none and we will use all our contacts and relationships to find you and bring you before a court.”