The Jarra Jarra road intersection. Picture: Twitter/Katrina Bevan
The Jarra Jarra road intersection. Picture: Twitter/Katrina Bevan

Outback deaths plea: Don’t let others die

A CENTRAL desert MLA has called for the rollout of mobile phone coverage in remote communities to be expedited following the tragic deaths of four people after their car broke down on a dirt track.

Stuart MLA Scott McConnell said the deaths were "tragic" and called on governments to fast track the expansion of mobile coverage to remote communities, in the hope similar situations might be avoided in future.

"Mobile coverage is absolutely critical - most people are getting all their data and news through mobiles in remote communities," he said.

"It's not just calling, it's also about messaging and Facebook - if there was that greater connectivity and they'd been offline for a long time, someone might have noticed sooner."

Yesterday, communities were heartbroken following the discoveries of a young family and a small child who had "succumbed to the elements" after their unroadworthy vehicle broke down on a remote access road northeast of Willowra.

An emotional Superintendent Jody Nobbs said the whole of Central Australia was devastated by the discoveries.

"It's not only heartbreaking for that community [where the families come from], it's heartbreaking for the broader community," he said.

"Equally, the emergency services family that responded - (it's a) particularly challenging event for us."

After setting out for Jarra Jarra outstation last Friday, the bodies of a 19-year old couple and their three-year-old son were only found on Wednesday afternoon.

That night police were alerted to the possibility a 12-year-old boy had been travelling with them and, after an extensive land and air search, the body of a small child was located 120m from the family on Thursday.

In the near-40 degree heat, the four of them had walked about 4.5km from their broken-down car, which was out of fuel and had a flat tire.

Police remain uncertain when the vehicle broke down.


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