10:39 am EST - From the Associated Press: "Australian police say a bomb squad has safely freed a young woman who was trapped near a suspicious device in a Sydney home." Police don't know if the device was explosive and "are looking for a person who placed the device in the 18-year-old's home." The Australian Herald Sun describes the incident as a "brutal extortion bid" and relays that the teen has been reunited with her parents.
9:15 - Via Sky News the Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch says "As of 8:30pm our inquiries continue, and the young lady remains in the house with the device. Specialist police are with the lady and continue to verify what we are dealing with."
9:04 am EST - Reuters relays that "Police said they could not confirm the reports that the device was strapped to the woman's neck or that the bomb scare was part of an extortion plot."
On Sydney Australia's North Shore, multiple reports are describing an unfolding hostage situation of an assailant who apparently strapped an explosive device around the neck of an 18 year-old girl in a suburban mansion. Police officers, pictured above, are at the residence and are now trying to defuse the device. The victim is said to be the daughter of a wealthy businessman, according to The Daily Telegraph. Australia's Herald Sun has one of the most descriptive accounts at the moment:
Police believe a ransom note is attached to the girl's neck but bomb experts have been unable to read its contents.A senior police police officer described the device as an unusual "collar bomb" which has never been seen before in Australia. He said they believed it was an extortion attempt and that details of the situation were being conveyed to police via the girl's father. The girl is cooperating with police and bomb squad officers to defuse the device. A bomb disposal expert in full headgear was seen outside the home.
The drama unfolded at 2.40pm this afternoon when an 18-year-old girl called police to the mansion in Burrawong Avenue, Mosman "following discovery of a suspicious device".
We'll update with more information when it becomes available.