Accused sex offender’s ‘elaborate escape plan unravels after he is caught trying to flee Australia by hiding in an air conditioning vent of a cargo ship that rescued his yacht in the Pacific’
- A man has been discovered allegedly trying to flee the country on a cargo ship
- Franco Fernando Alomia Santander, 31, began his alleged escape on a yacht
- His yacht sent out a series of distress calls which were answered by cargo ship
- When the ship’s crew disembarked they could find no sign of the rescued man
- Police then found Santander, wanted for alleged sexual assault, in air-con vent
A man wanted by police has been discovered allegedly trying to flee Australia by hiding in a tiny air-conditioning duct aboard a cargo ship that rescued his yacht.
Franco Fernando Alomia Santander, 31, from Peakhurst in Sydney was found by police and Border Force officers ‘well secreted’ inside the compartment on the 230 metre ship.
Santander, wanted for an alleged sexual assault, began his elaborate escape plan on a yacht which had sent out a series of distress calls off the coast of Yamba on Saturday.
A man wanted by police has been discovered allegedly trying to flee Australia by hiding in a tiny air-conditioning duct (pictured) aboard a cargo ship that rescued his yacht
Santander, wanted for an alleged sexual assault, began his elaborate escape plan on a yacht (pictured) which had sent out a series of distress calls off the coast of Yamba on Saturday
A 43,000 tonne bulk carrier ship responded to the distress calls and pulled the man aboard before attaching a tow line to the yacht.
NSW Police Chief Inspector Joe McNulty said the man was taken to a cabin on the cargo ship before it docked in Newcastle about 9pm Saturday night.
The tow line had snapped on the way to port and the yacht was left adrift.
When the crew disembarked on Sunday morning Santander had vanished.
A search by the crew and a subsequent extensive examination of the ship and surrounding waters by Marine Area Command turned up no sign of the man.
The door to the air conditioning duct room where the man was found by police officers
It wasn’t until Monday when NSW Police and Australian Border Force officers with the help of the dog squad found the man in the dingy air conditioning hold.
Officers claim Santander was carrying a knife and $4435 in cash.
He was taken to Newcastle Police Station and charged with breach of bail.
Police will allege in court that he had deliberately cut the tow line to his yacht so as not to draw attention to the ship and intended to hide on-board until the carrier left for Malaysia.
Santander fronted Newcastle Local Court on Monday where he was formally refused bail to appear in Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday.
The bulk carrier ship was rescued the man after his yacht sent out distress calls