Tourists lucky to survive as car swept off causeway

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Hugh river causeway rescue
A car being swept off a causeway sparked a major police rescue operation near Alice Springs. PIC: Twitter/Grenville Turner

The record-breaking rains that have caused travel chaos across central Australia have also resulted in some dangerous situations … and some remarkable tales of survival.

A pair of overseas tourists are exceptionally lucky to be alive after their rented car was swept off a causeway near Alice Springs. Witnesses described how the car began to float and move sideways, before being washed off the causeway. The couple from Hong Kong and Taiwan scrambled out of the vehicle as it was moved down the Hugh River.

Police said the car became wedged against a tree about 250 metres downstream.

Acting Superintendent Brendan Muldoon told the media the pair were saved due to the “very courageous” actions of police officers and a bystander who risked their own lives to save them.

“They’ve put themselves in harm’s way, no doubt about that, but they’ve done it in the belief that if they hadn’t done so those people would have most likely died,” he said. “It was an extremely dangerous road they have tried to cross in those floodwaters.”

The man was found clinging to a tree in the river and the woman was discovered unconscious on the shore.

In a separate incident, two people have been rescued in a severely dehydrated state after trekking nearly 60 kilometres across the outback.

The 30-year-old man and 27-year-old woman were part of a group of six who went missing when they attempted a Christmas Day trip from the Kiwirrkurra Community in Western Australia’s Gibson Desert.

Acting Superintendent Muldoon said it was extraordinary that they had managed to walk so far across the desert in two days.

“They walked a small access drive off the main road which made our efforts a lot more difficult in that they continued to move,” he said.

A helicopter rescued four of the six on Tuesday afternoon, after they failed to make the 180 kilometre trip to Kintore in the Northern Territory.

The final two were spotted on foot almost 60 kilometres away and have been taken to Kintore medical centre to be treated for dehydration.

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