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 taken at gunpoint during a scheduled stop on Monday afternoon.

They were released hours later.

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

‘The quick response by our (Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary) was key in arresting this situation,’ PNG’s Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko told AAP.

‘Our men will not stop following through on those criminals until we get them arrested or otherwise.’

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

Police were in negotiations with the kidnappers and had been cleared 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 this type of criminal in the area and in the past kidnappers have been killed,’ he said in his first statement before their release.

‘If that is what it takes to bring this situation to a successful conclusion and free the captives, so be it.’

Australian professor Bryce Barker was taken hostage alongside two lo