Monday 26 September 2016

Couple feared they would be eaten by cannibals after being captured in Papua New Guinea

Published 13/01/2016 | 08:33

Michelle Clemens

A young couple feared they would be eaten by cannibals after being captured while on a hiking holiday in Papua New Guinea.

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Matthew Iovane and his American girlfriend Michelle Clemens (both 31)  went trekking in the Papua New Guinea jungle together where they were captured by the gang, who tied them up, stripped them naked and beat them.

Michelle Clemens
Michelle Clemens

In an interview with the Sun, Mr Iovan, who appeared on the 2008 show Shipwrecked, said that during their terrifying ordeal the only thing they could understand their captors saying was “kill them”.

The pair had spent five days trekking in the jungle prior to their terrifying ordeal.

Mr Iovane and Ms Clemens, who met in Los Angeles, were attacked on the final day of a hike along the 60-mile Kokoda Trail

However on the last day of their trip, Mr Iovane and Miss Clemens were confronted and captured by two tribesmen who were armed with machetes and knives.

“We were about an hour into the walk when a tribesman appeared ahead of us and another behind us,” he said.

Mr Iovane said his first reaction was to try and calm the tribesmen and he thought it must be some kind of joke.

“I thought we were being robbed so we put down our bags in an attempt to calm down them,” he said.

Mr Iovane said the men got more and more annoyed and started attacking them.

“One turned on me, and swung his machete at me. He started tearing at my clothes until I was stripped virtually naked. I was too terrified to fight back.”

The couple made an attempt to flee before being recaptured. Mr Iovane said that he was blindfolded and his captors began running their machete across his neck.

“He was grunting and shouting ‘kill you’ while sliding the machete blade across my throat,” he said.

Mr Iovane also said that he was subjected to a cruel game where this captor would swing his machete at his head but change its direction at the last second.

After having their belongings stolen from them – including an iPhone which their captors seemed to recognise – the pair, who had been stripped, managed to escape. Fleeing through the jungle, they were eventually rescued by villagers who came to their aid.

The pair are currently recovering from their ordeal in Papau New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby

The most recent certified case of cannibalism in Papau New Guinea was in 2012.

Authorities arrested 29 people accused of being part of a cannibal cult in Papua New Guinea's jungle interior and charged them with the murders of seven suspected witch doctors.

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