The Daily Mail’s sister paper has contradicted its derring-do front-page splash claiming it “rescued” lost explorer Benedict Allen.
“Mail saves malaria-hit British explorer from jungle as he is caught between warring tribes,” Saturday’s Mail said as it described its “mission” to save Allen after he was missing for days in Papua New Guinea.
In breathless terms, the paper described chartering a helicopter, following up a “tip off from tribal chiefs” and flying out to hand Allen a satellite phone so he could ring his distraught wife.
It was Boy’s Own, Ripping Yarns stuff that reminded journalists of a time when their predecessors had a lot in common with Indiana Jones.
This is golden age of newspapers kind of stuff, the Daily Mail chartering planes and sending rescue teams into the depths of the Papua New Guinea jungle pic.twitter.com/gOyLXHzW8s— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) November 18, 2017
But there was a plot twist, as the pilot revealed Allen “didn’t need rescuing” in an interview with the Mail’s arch rival... The Mail On Sunday.
The Sunday paper, which also has a reported in Papua New Guinea, quoted pilot Craig Rose claiming Allen had posed for pictures for an hour when the chopper came to save him.
“It wasn’t as if he was in mortal danger,” Rose said.
Journalists called it an “astonishing development” and urges the two papers to “FIGHT”.
In an astonishing development - today's Mail on Sunday reveals that Benedict Allen didn't, er, need rescuing. pic.twitter.com/1QOTJqyjhs— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) November 19, 2017
The Golden Age Fleet Street extravaganza that is flying to Papua New Guinea to rescue an explorer is only beaten by flying to Papua New Guinea to discredit your sister paper's scoop. https://t.co/etpJpT3zFI— Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton) November 19, 2017
This isn’t the first time the Mail and the Mail On Sunday have been at odds.
The Sunday paper backed Remain in the Brexit referendum last year, a remarkable position given the Mail was one of the loudest voices backing Leave, under editor and eurosceptic Paul Dacre.