​Northern Territory outback tragedy that claimed four lives explained: vehicle was out of fuel

Superintendent Jody Nobbs (inset) said temperatures in the area at the time of the stranding was in the “high 30s to low 40s”.
Superintendent Jody Nobbs (inset) said temperatures in the area at the time of the stranding was in the “high 30s to low 40s”.

The vehicle which broke down leading to the deaths of four people in remote central Australia was unroadworthy, had a flat tyre and was out of fuel.

Police in Alice Springs have today provided an update to the investigation into the tragedy which has shocked the Northern Territory.

Three family members, a man and woman both aged 19, and a three year-old boy, perished on a remote dirt track near Willowra, 300km north-west of Alice Springs and 400km south west of Tennant Creek.

Superintendent Jody Nobbs provides an update on the central Australian tragedy this morning.

Superintendent Jody Nobbs provides an update on the central Australian tragedy this morning.

A 12-year-old boy, who police today said had “broad family linkages” to the young family, also died sometime between Friday when they left on their trip to a remote community, and Wednesday, when they were discovered.

Superintendent Jody Nobbs said the tragedy was timely reminder to other road users in the NT to make sure their vehicles were roadworthy, with a first aid kit and carrying adequate food and water supplies.

Supt Nobbs said it was also important people told others of their travelling intentions.

He said the exact cause of death would be left to the NT Coroner but a preliminary assessment was that all four had “succumbed to the elements”.

He said temperatures in the area at the time of their stranding was in the “high 30s to low 40s”.

Supt Nobb also said it was not uncommon that no-one else had travelled along the same desert track in the past week.

The family members were found 4.5km from their broken down vehicle on Wednesday and the boy was found just over 100 metres away from the family yesterday.

The boy is yet to be formally identified but was a passenger in the vehicle travelling between Ti Tree and Jarra Jarra communities.

The vehicle broke down about 18km from Jarra Jarra, police said.