Three people have been killed after a vehicle, crossing a river in the Northern Territory, was swept away.
THREE people are dead after being trapped inside a vehicle that was swept away in floodwaters in the Northern Territory.
Police have recovered the bodies of a 61-year-old male, a 61-year-old female and a 21-year-old male after a crowded troop carrier with 20 people on board attempted to cross the Moyle River, around 14km from the remote Aboriginal community of Peppimenarti and approximately 320km south west of Darwin.
The three people were trapped in the vehicle after it became submerged in water. Police divers located the bodies. The 17 survivors escaped from the vehicle and floodwaters and climbed to safety on the river banks.
Police said water was 60cm deep at the crossing at the deepest point, when the vehicle attempted to cross on Friday night. The crossing, which has no river level markings, is considered impassable at 40cm.
Police said the three dead are believed to be locals from the Daly River area. The vehicle was believed to be travelling to Wadeye.
Emergency services and water police attended the scene.
“There were 20 people inside and outside the car when it was swept off the crossing,” a police spokesman told NT News.
“Seventeen people managed to get out and make it to the river’s banks, but unfortunately three didn’t make it out.
“Several of the survivors walked to the nearby community of Pulumpa to raise the alarm and police responded immediately. However, there was nothing we could do because the river was so high and the car at that stage was completely submerged.”
Police had to wait until the floodwaters receded to recover the bodies.
“We enlisted the help of a mustering helicopter to scour the riverbanks in case the three missing had managed to get out … sadly that wasn’t the case,” the spokesman said.