A suspect in an Australian sexual assault case has been apprehended with a weapon and a stash of cash, after he tried to flee the country by hiding in the air-conditioning vent of a ship.
While this may sound like something from an action movie, Australian authorities say the drama unfolded in real life over the weekend.
On Saturday morning, a cargo ship headed for the harbor city of Newcastle, New South Wales, came across a yacht that had encountered difficulties in the water off the coast of Yamba, according to Australian Border Force. The crew attached a tow line to bring the yacht with them to Newcastle, and took the yacht's skipper -- a 31-year-old man -- on board.
But as the ship approached its destination later that evening, it was discovered that the tow line carrying the yacht had been snapped, and the yacht -- and the man -- were missing.
Authorities searched the area for the missing man, but could not locate him, the border force said.
On Monday -- two days after the man's disappearance -- officials from the NSW Police and Australian Border Force (ABF) officers searched the cargo ship with dogs and found the man hidden in an air-conditioning unit.
Officers, who discovered the man was in breach of his bail over an alleged sexual assault, believe he deliberately cut the yacht loose, and had planned to stow away on the ship until it left Australia for Malaysia.
Officers arrested the man and seized 4,435 Australian dollars (around $3,070) in cash and a knife, which will undergo forensic examination. Border force officials said he was charged with breach of bail and would appear before a court Wednesday.