11 Oct 2004

PNG police hold mystery flight pilot's passport

2:59 pm on 11 October 2004

Papua New Guinea police have the seized the passport of the owner of the controversial jet that landed at the decommissioned Aropa airport on Bougainville earlier thsi month.

The Deputy Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, told the Post-Courier that Andrew Reid surrendered his Australian passport to police after he was asked to do so on Friday.

Mr Baki says the passport will be handed to the Department of Foreign Affairs as it has requested for further questioning and investigations.

Mr Baki says the whereabouts of the other two occupants of the plane is still uncertain - they are still at large and it cannot be ruled out they crossed the Solomon Islands border.

He says they will have to wait for men on the ground to give a report.

But the Mekamui Defence Force has advised the Post-Courier that the two men - Australian Jeff Richards and a Briton, James Nessbit - were safe and sound in the rebels' no-go zone in Central Bougainville.