30 Aug 2011

Hopes still high missing PNG scientists will be found alive

7:16 am on 30 August 2011

The Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research says it's hopeful that five missing scientists will be found alive.

The three men and two women, along with their 3 person crew, haven't been seen for nearly a month, after setting off from West New Britain for an island about a two hour journey away.

Their seven metre banana boat has since been found intact in East Sepik Province, strengthening a police theory the group may have been abducted.

The Institute's director, professor Peter Siba, says he can't think of any reason the scientists would be taken hostage, but he hopes strong leads that have emerged in West New Britain bear fruit.

"We are praying for it and we have some very strong leads. The police in West New Britain are tightlipped on that because if the information leaks out, the latest is that these guys have been seen to be alive around West New Britain according to sources there - so the police is very tightlipped about this."