The tragic final moments of a young family found dead in the Australian Outback have been revealed.
The bodies of a young couple, both 19 years of age, were discovered along with their three-year-old child on Wednesday (November 7) in the Northern Territory.
The body of a 12-year-old boy – believed to be a family friend – was found one day later on Thursday November 8, 120 metres away from the other three bodies.
It is believed the group had set off from Willowra on Friday November 2, and were headed towards the Jarra Jarra community when their car broke down.
The journey should have taken roughly five hours, but the family were unable to access help once their car had broke down.
Speaking to the media, Southern Desert Division Superintendent Jody Nobbs said that the emergency services were initially called because of a report of a fatal motor vehicle accident at 12.30pm (local time) on Wednesday.
Once they arrived at the scene, however, he said it became immediately clear that there was no crash and so a land search was conducted.
Upon inspection, he said it became clear that the car had a flat tyre and had ran out of fuel:
He warned the public of the dangers of travelling in the Outback, emphasising that this is a tragic situation which serves a timely reminder when travelling on Northern Territory roads.
He advised people to:
Ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy; you have adequate supplies within your vehicle for your trip – including food, water, first aid kits; someone is aware of your travel itinerary, your estimated time of departure, time of arrival; and that someone makes a prompt notification to police if you are an overdue party.
Superintendent Nobbs did not disclose the cause or time of death of the young family, but said it was likely that they had ‘succumbed to the elements’.
The temperature over the weekend, which is when the family would have been stranded, was around the high 30s to early 40s (Celsius) so it would have been unbearably hot.
Their bodies were found approximately 4.5 kilometres away from where their car was found and the vehicle itself was just 18km away from their intended destination, Jarra Jarra.
When asked whether it was unusual for the family to go undiscovered for five days in the Outback, Superintendent Nobbs confirmed it was not, especially because of the rugged terrain of the area.
It’s not uncommon from our perspective that no one had travelled on that road over that time. It is a relatively limited outback access road, and given that there was no one residing at Jarra Jarra community at that time, it’s not unusual that no one was on that road at the relevant time.
He went on to advise that if anyone found themselves in a similar situation, it is preferable to remain in your vehicle and wait for help.
The Superintendent ended by saying:
My heart and thoughts are with the community over this difficult time. We will continue to work with the community over the coming days, weeks or however long is required to assist them in getting through this difficult situation.
Our thoughts are with those affected, in particular the family and friends of the deceased.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]