Australia outback: Body found in search for missing woman

Cheryl Sanders
December 4, 2019

Police found a body on Wednesday they suspect is the only casualty among three people who became stranded in the arid central Australian Outback nearly two weeks ago.

Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said a woman's body was located about 38 kilometres south-east of the Stuart Well Roadhouse, around 8.5 kilometres east of the Stuart Highway.

Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

Northern Territory Police said Mr Tran was found by a farmer on a livestock station south of Alice Springs, one of Australia's most remote towns.

Hockeridge, her partner Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, and their companion Phu Tran, 40, were in a SUV that became bogged in a dry riverbed during an afternoon sightseeing drive on November 19.

Superintendent Vicary said they were concerned this morning that Ms Hockridge had run out of water, but that there were still hopes she had managed to survive.

The trio were travelling together in a ute south of Alice Springs when their vehicle became bogged.

The group spent three days drinking through a supply of water, cans of iced vodka, packs of biscuits and beef noodles.

Mr Tran told Mr Fogarty he had left Ms Hockridge behind to look for help.

Ms McBeath-Riley was rescued on Sunday afternoon after a station worker noticed tyre tracks and alerted police.

Efforts to find Ms Hockridge were hampered by thick dense scrub and the fact the missing woman continued to move location, Superintendent Vicary said.

Two of Ms Hockridge's companions were found alive earlier this week after extensive search efforts.

Teagan posted on social media: "Devastated & heartbroken doesn't reach our pain in this time; we as a family appreciate the public's respect for our time of grief & while we come to terms with this reality".

Search and rescue officers were focussing on the Palmer Valley Station area today and NT Police announced that they had located a body at 1:00pm.

"Ted, the landowner near the cattle farm, he's a battler, he's got 1000 head of cattle and he dropped everything to make sure I was all right", he told reporters.

They left a note inside their vehicle.

They had stayed by the vehicle for around three days in an unsuccessful attempt to free it, before splitting up to find help.

Daytime temperatures in the Australian outback often exceed 40C (104F), with temperatures plummeting after sundown.

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