Alpurrurulam, or Lake Nash as it is commonly known, is a windswept, red dirt community close to the Queensland-Northern Territory border. (Supplied: Ben Olschewsky)
Three men from central Australia’s Utopia region have died near the Lake Nash area on the Northern Territory and Queensland border.
- Michael Gravener said one man was 31 and the other two were in their early to mid-40s
- He had spoken to some of the families of the deceased, who had now begun sorry business
- One of the men worked for the Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation and another was due to start work there this week
Queensland Police has confirmed a coronial investigation into the deaths is currently underway, with NT Police also involved.
Michael Gravener, CEO of Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation, said the three deceased men were from the Utopia homelands north-east of Alice Springs.
He said one man was 31 and the other two were in their early to mid-40s.
Mr Gravener said the entire area was devastated by the tragedy.
‘The whole community is coming together’
“About two weeks ago, we heard that somebody had found a young man, dead, by the road south of Alpurrurulam, we don’t know the full details yet,” Mr Gravener said.
“As a result of that we knew that he was with another two people — but they have just recently been found, I believe two days ago, in a car, deceased also.”
Mr Gravener said he had spoken to some of the families of the deceased, who had now begun sorry business.
“They are obviously very distraught; the whole community is coming together to support each other in this difficult time,” he said.
Mr Gravener said residents had a lot of questions about what happened, and what efforts were put into the investigation and search.
“If the scenario is that they’ve perished several weeks ago, in line with the other young fella, well, you would have to consider that there could’ve been a better coordination of services in order to search for these people who obviously were waiting to be found, to get out of the predicament [they were in],” he said.
“We will just have to sit back and wait for [more information] from police.”
According to Mr Gravener, one of the men worked for the Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation and another was due to start work at the corporation this week.
“The other one was a significant man who was a leader in the health clinic here and was also well known for his work in the community, so it’s a great loss for all of us,” he said.
‘Two men found in two separate locations’
In a statement, Queensland Police said on the afternoon of December 28 a motorist found the 31-year-old man in a critical condition on the side of Lake Nash Road.
The deaths are not being treated as suspicious at this stage.
“He was transported to a medical clinic in the nearby community of Alpurrurulam where he passed away later that day,” the statement read.
Queensland Police has confirmed a coronial investigation into the deaths is currently underway, with NT Police also involved. (ABC News: Stuart Bryce)
On January 7, there were reports that a station had found an abandoned car with NT number plates, police then attended a property on Camooweal Urandangi Road.
Officers, along with a tracker, found the tracks of three people walking away from the car and continued to search the area.
“Later that day the bodies of two men were found in two separate locations, but within close proximity of each other, on a dirty road approximately 13 kilometres from the vehicle,” Queensland Police said.
Police said early investigations show the men travelled from the NT to Mount Isa in December sometime before Christmas.
“Further preliminary information suggests that on December 27, four men travelling in the vehicle visited an address at Camooweal before three of the men departed in the vehicle later that evening, on their way to the Northern Territory,” the statement read.
“The coronial investigation by Mount Isa CIB into the death of the two men is continuing with the abandoned vehicle towed back to Mount Isa for scientific/mechanical examination.
“Investigators would like to make contact with Shirley Dixon of Utopia Community in the Northern Territory to assist in this matter.”
Anyone with more information about the incident, or knowledge of the whereabouts of Shirley Dixon is urged to contacted police.
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