Authorities are urging travellers to not be complacent when driving through the West Australian outback after a woman’s body was found in the Pilbara region.
The 32-year-old’s body was found on Sunday near a bogged vehicle on a remote access road north of the remote community of Jigalong — the fourth death in WA’s outback in two months.
East Pilbara Inspector Craig Parkin said the death was not suspicious and a report would be prepared for the coroner.
“It could be the conditions or it could be an underlying medical condition as well, but in the passage of time and once the coroner in South Hedland makes a determination, we’ll have a better picture to understand why this tragedy occurred,” Inspector Parkin said.
Two women travelling with her were located safe at a nearby waterhole.
They were taken to the Jigalong Health Clinic as a precaution.
Police warn of dangers
Experienced motorcyclist Daniel Price was on a solo expedition from Darwin to Karratha when he died. (ABC Kimberley: Supplied WA Police)
In separate cases in WA in the past two months, a tourist perished from suspected dehydration during a hiking trip in the Kalbarri National Park, motorcyclist Daniel Price died in the Kimberley from heat exposure and elderly prospector Ronald Potter was found in bushland near Coolgardie.
Last week, a 55-year-old woman was rescued near the Pilbara mining town of Pannawonica.
Hazel Stafford was located by an extensive air and land search after she wandered away from a bogged vehicle she was a passenger in.
Inspector Parkin warned people — including locals — of the dangers of travelling in the outback.
He said people could become complacent on roads they know well.
“[What] we see with the locals is that because they have good knowledge of the area and they probably have travelled these roads a lot in the past, they become complacent in terms of their planning.”
Inspector Parkin recommended letting people know departure and arrival dates and installing a locating device in their vehicles.
“So in the event that they do become stranded they can activate these devices which can be picked up again and that gives an exact location of where they are,” he said.
Hazel Stafford, 55, was rescued after the car she was travelling in became bogged. (Supplied: WA Police)
Local knowledge proves crucial
Police praised the tracking skills of a local Jigalong man in finding the two surviving women over the weekend.
He was driving along the Bilanooka access road when he found their car and notified police.
Once he and police returned to the scene, he found footprints belonging to the two women.
The pair, who also had good knowledge of the area, were found at a nearby waterhole.
“That local knowledge of the Jigalong man was fantastic for us to be able to locate these people safe and well,” Inspector Parkin said.
Police are urging travellers to keep a location device in their vehicles and to let others know when they’re due to leave and arrive. (ABC News: Melanie Arnost, file photo)