A teenager from one of Australia‘s wealthiest families spent hours with a bomb strapped to her neck after an intruder broke into her home.
Police were today trying to save the 18-year-old after a masked man attached a ransom to the “collar bomb” device.
A rescue mission was taking place in the expensive Sydney suburb of Mosman, where Australia’s most successful rugby captain John Eales lives.
Police said they were treating the bomb as “live” as they tried to calm the terrified teenager.
As the girl’s parents wept outside, officers sealed off surrounding streets and evacuated nearby homes. Explosives experts were called in to examine the device, and fire crews and paramedics attended the scene.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said it was a “highly delicate” operation. “There’s a device in the house in the vicinity of the young woman. It is still being examined as we speak.
“The young lady is doing her best to assist the police to find out exactly what’s gone on.”
The girl called police to the property at 2.40pm Sydney time “following discovery of a suspicious device”.
It is believed a ransom note was attached to her neck, but bomb experts have been unable so far to read its contents. The whereabouts of the balaclava-clad man are unknown.
A police source told Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph that the bomb remained live and experts were with the girl. It is believed the teenager, who has been studying for her private school exams, has not been able to tell officers who had attached the device to her.
One local, speaking to a Sydney radio station said police had stopped people going in and out of the sealed-off area, telling them only that there was an “ongoing” incident.
Mosman is on the Lower North Shore of Sydney. As well as Eales, horse racing magnate Gai Waterhouse and former international rugby star Phil Kearns live nearby.