Tourist missing after car swept away in floods near Alice Springs


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Police say they have ‘grave concerns’ for the person after two other people were able to escape from the vehicle.

Northern Territory police have “grave concerns” for a tourist understood to have been trapped in a car that was swept into a flooded creek about 40km west of Alice Springs.

Three people were in the small sedan when it was swept off a causeway on Larapinta Drive and into the Hugh River about 1pm on Tuesday. The driver and one passenger managed to escape but one remained trapped as the vehicle was swept about 250m downstream.

Witnesses said the car rolled over a couple of times, before being wedged up against a tree.

Acting Superintendent Brendan Muldoon of the NT police said at a media conference a flood boat had been despatched to the scene, but the vehicle was understood to have since disappeared. “We do hold grave concerns for that person,” he said.

Muldoon said the tourists, believed to be from Asia, had not judged the depth of the water as they set out across the causeway.

“We’re urging motorists in the NT to not crossed flooded causeways, not enter flooded rivers. … We do need to consider our own safety when trying to rescue these people, but if the conditions are available, we will be entering the water with our flood boat and trying very hard to locate this missing person.”

The rescue was complicated by the fact there was no mobile phone reception at the location, he said.

A search is also continuing for a group of four adults and a child who left Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia in two cars bound for Kintore on Sunday.

Muldoon said the group had been missing for almost 48 hours and there were serious concerns for their welfare, but weather conditions had precluded an aerial search until now.

“Police airmen should be doing an aerial surveillance search of the Kintore Road in an attempt to locate those people.”

He said they had not been able to contact the motorists by phone due to the “extremely remote” country.

“We believe they are from a remote Indigenous community and not really sure of exactly what resources they do have, but we haven’t had any contact with them yet.”

A slow-moving low-pressure system has caused record-breaking rain and flash flooding in the NT, forcing the closure of Uluru national park on Monday.

The park reopened on Tuesday morning, but Parks Australia warned that there was water across roads in several sections.

Peak wind gusts at Yulara, north of the park, reached up to 125km/h and the Walungurru district recorded 232mm of rain in 24 hours. The previous highest monthly total for December for that region was 161mm in 2003.

Superintendent Pauline Vicary said around 398mm was estimated to have fallen in Kintore between 12.30pm on Sunday and 8.30am Monday.

Nearly 100 people whose homes were affected by flooding were evacuated and taken to the local school.

Meanwhile two people were found alive on Tuesday after their car had become bogged on a dirt track in Western Australia’s remote far north last week.

Four people were in the car when it was bogged on a track off the Gibb River Road, about 86km from Derby, on Friday evening, but only two returned safely to Mowanjum community.

Kaylene Mungulu, 33, and Josephine Bear, 16, became separated from the other two people and remained missing until Tuesday morning when they were found about 5km east of their last known point.

There had been concerns for their safety due to severe weather conditions, with authorities conducting aerial and ground searches.

They were both in reasonable health and would be taken to Derby hospital for a check-up, police said.

Online Source:The Guardian

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