The most lethal crash the Northern Territory has seen in years occurred on the road to one of Australia’s most popular national parks, which has now claimed nine lives in seven months.
- Four people died in a single-vehicle crash on the Kakadu Highway this week
- In 2018, nine people have died on the highway
- The NT 2018 road toll stands at 42
This week, four people died when their Nissan X-Trail rolled on the Kakadu Highway, a 209-kilometre stretch of road connecting the Stuart Highway with the dual world heritage listed Kakadu National Park, south of Darwin.
Northern Territory Police were alerted to the incident around 8:15am on Friday, and believed the crash occurred around 80 kilometres from Pine Creek on Thursday night.
A 49-year-old woman and two males, aged 39 and 46, died at the scene.
Another male, aged 45, died on the way to hospital.
A 33-year-old woman, who walked from the scene and flagged down a passing motorist, was the sole survivor of the crash.
On Saturday she was in a stable condition in the Royal Darwin Hospital.
According to road toll statistics, the crash was the Northern Territory’s deadliest since five people died in a two-vehicle crash at Adelaide River, in May 2014.
Police said speed and alcohol contributed to the crash.
They are continuing to investigate, and appealing for anyone who may have information about the crash or witnessed a silver Nissan X-Trail travelling along the Kakadu Highway after 8:30 pm on Thursday to contact police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.
NT’s 2018 road toll could double from last year
The Kakadu Highway was the scene of another horrific crash on March 31 this year, when three people died in a single-vehicle crash.
Seven people, all from Darwin’s tight-knit Bangladeshi community, were about six kilometres north of Cooinda Lodge when their Toyota Prado crashed.
The other four occupants were injured but survived.
Initial reports at the time suggested driver inexperience may have played a role in the crash.
The next day, a Darwin school teacher died when his car crashed on the same highway.
The 65-year-old was travelling with a 23-year-old when their Toyota Landcruiser rolled near Pine Creek.
Police did not state what caused the crash.
On June 7, a 33-year-old man died when his vehicle rolled about five kilometres from the Arnhem and Kakadu Highway intersection.
At the time, police believed he was not wearing a seatbelt and speed was a contributing factor.
The Northern Territory 2018 road toll now stands at 42, compared to 23 this time last year.
Commander Tony Fuller said “one death on our roads is one too many”.
“In the last week five Territorians did not make it home to their families,” he said.
“At this rate we will double the number of people killed on our roads last year.
“We urge all road users to take care. Enough is enough.”
Road toll statistics from 2017 show there were no fatal crashes on the Kakadu Highway that year.
On August 11, 2016, a 65-year-old man died when his car crashed on the highway.
On May 17, 2015 a man died and three others where injured when their car rolled on the highway.
Police have been contacted to see if they will be implementing any specific strategies to make the Kakadu Highway safer.
The national park can also be accessed via the more northern Arnhem Highway, which runs from south of Palmerston to Jabiru.