by Joshua Dowling

A man on an old Seadoo packed with jerry cans tried to make a run for PNG after leaving the northern tip of Australia.

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A foreign fugitive wanted over drugs charges has been caught in the Torres Strait trying to flee Australia by jet ski.

The 57-year-old from Britain was caught just 10km off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

He was riding what is believed to be a 2008 supercharged Seadoo Wake 215 that had been fitted with jerry cans with extra fuel to make the estimated 200km journey.

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According to authorities, Australian Border Force received information from Queensland Police in Bamaga that a man “possibly armed with a crossbow and carrying additional fuel and supplies” was seen launching a jet ski at Pundsand Bay on Cape York. 

Police established it was a man with an outstanding warrant for drug-related charges in Western Australia.

Community members helped police identify the man’s travel path and his plans to buy enough fuel to get to PNG.

Australian Border Force Cutter “Roebuck Bay” chased down the jet ski and found the man on mudflats on the eastern side of Saibai Island.

A tender was deployed and a Queensland police officer arrested the man. The jet ski was towed to another location on Saibai island.

The jet ski escapee was transported to Thursday Island where he was held by Queensland police ahead of extradition to West Australia. 

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Australian Border Force Commander, Northern Command, Jo Crooks, said the result was a joint effort.

“This is a perfect example of local intelligence sharing, community support, our maritime capability, all working together,” said Commander Crooks.

“Working closely with (Federal and Queensland Police) we have the ability to detect a range of border threats, including suspicious movements through the region. Anyone who thinks they can either enter or leave Australia through the region without detection should think again.”

Australian Border Force also thanked officers in Moa, Dauan and Saibai, and community members on Saibai, Dauan, Sigabadaru and Mabaduan.

In a media statement the Australian Federal Police said the arrest “sends a strong message to would-be fugitives – our reach across Australia is second to none and we will use all our contacts and relationships to find you and bring you before a court.”