ARRIVAL: Nick Bennett arrives at Mackay Airport after a horrific incident in Papua New Guinea.
ARRIVAL: Nick Bennett arrives at Mackay Airport after a horrific incident in Papua New Guinea. Andrea Davy

Mackay men part of group targeted in PNG machete attack

UPDATE:

Nick Bennett and Steve Ward, who were caught up in the tragic trekking attack in Papua New Guinea, arrived home in Mackay this afternoon.

They were reunited with loved ones at the Mackay Airport after flying in from Port Moresby via Cairns.

Mr Bennett and Mr Ward were among the nine trekkers who were ambushed while hiking the Black Cat Track.

Two Papua New Guinean porters were reportedly hacked to death by bush knives during the incident.

Mr Bennett received a wound to his forehead, and it's believed Mr Ward was also assaulted. 

 

A map showing where the attack took place in PNG.
A map showing where the attack took place in PNG.

 

EARLIER:

IT'S the shocking tale which has left the nation stunned - what brings the terrifying ordeal closer to home is that two Mackay men were involved.

City businessman Nick Bennett, originally from New Zealand, and Steve Ward were among nine trekkers in the group brutally attacked in Papua New Guinea.

Mr Bennett is a part owner of Minds Aligned and deputy chairman of Mackay Foundation.

Mr Ward operates Woodman's Axe Espresso.

It's believed a deadly ambush on the Black Cat Track resulted in two Papua New Guinean men being hacked to death by machetes, and several more being injured.

Mr Bennett's long-time partner Rowena Hardy has been left shocked, and was only able to make a brief comment on the tragic incident yesterday.

"They are safe. They are ok," she said.

"They are being brought back to Australia as soon as possible."

The Black Cat Track is situated in the Morobe Province of PNG. It takes about six days to complete.

There has been speculation the attack was the result of a boil-over of rising tensions between locals and trekking group companies using the trail.

The attackers were believed to have been brandishing bush knives (or machetes), spears and even guns.

Reports suggest the group was only six hours into their trek at the time of the murder; they had just reached their first camp and were settling in for the night at Charlie's Camp. The group returned to the village of Wau, where they received medical attention.

It's believed they will be taken back to Port Moresby before being flown home to Australia later this week.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman confirmed all of the trekkers had received medical attention.

She said none of the injuries were life-threatening.



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