Concerns For 60 Minutes Crew Detained By Beirut Police
The Australian consulate in Beirut has made contact with 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown and her crew, who are being detained by Lebanese police.
Australian officials are due to speak to the crew directly, who are understood to be held at a local police station, 60 Minutes reporter Michael Usher told Nine News on Thursday.
The TV crew were detained after filming the recovery of two Australian children, believed aged four and six, who had been taken to Beirut by their Lebanese father early last year, and never returned, Nine reported.
"The Australian consulate in Beirut is now in contact with the 60 Minutes crew," Usher told Nine News.
"We understand that they are in a local police station."
Usher said the 60 Minutes team were concerned they had not been able to speak to the crew for 15 hours.
"That's obviously been very concerning for all of us here, but it is a relief to know that at least Australian officials are about to speak to them directly," he said.
"We will just have to wait and see."
Usher said the crew were experienced and knew the risk of doing the story of the Australian mum, who legally had sole custody of her children and was trying to bring them back home.
Nine aired dramatic pictures of children being taken and rushed into a vehicle, leaving two women believed to be a grandmother and nanny behind.
Lebanese media reported the mother now had the children and had since been in contact with the grandmother but their location was unknown, according to Nine.
Earlier Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said Australian authorities had been urgently trying to locate the crew and offer them help.
"I confirm that DFAT has been in contact with Channel 9 with regard to reports that an Australian TV crew has been detained in Lebanon," said Ms Bishop.
"We are urgently seeking to confirm the crews whereabouts and welfare, and have offered all appropriate consular assistance".
The Nine Network also earlier issued a statement confirming the crew had been detained in Beirut and said it was "working with authorities to get them released and home".
Brown and the crew were tracked down by Beirut police and detained for questioning after the mother and her children were placed in a safe house, according to Fairfax.
A private child recovery agency was involved in separating the children from their paternal grandmother, who was minding them while their father was at work.
Members of the child recovery agency have apparently also been detained.