Australian pilot is released unharmed after being kidnapped ‘at gunpoint’ in Papua New Guinea

An Australian helicopter pilot and two locals kidnapped in a remote part of Papua New Guinea have been released unharmed.

The pilot and two Digicel contractors landed at a telecommunications site where they were shot at gunpoint during a planned stop on Monday afternoon.

Hours later they were released.

An Australian pilot has been kidnapped in Papua New Guinea (stock image)

“The rapid response of our (Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary) was critical in arresting this situation,” PNG Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko told AAP.

“Our men will not stop pursuing those criminals until we arrest them or otherwise.”

PNG police believed the group was motivated by a ‘compensation claim’.

Police were negotiating with the kidnappers and had received permission to use lethal force, Commissioner David Manning said in a statement before their release was confirmed.

“This is not the first time we have dealt with these types of criminals in the area and kidnappers have been killed in the past,” he said in his first statement before their release.

“If that’s what it takes to resolve this situation and free the prisoners, then so be it.”

The Australian professor Bryce Barker, together with two lo