CANBERRA, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Four people have been found dead after they were left stranded in the Australian Outback when their car broke down.
Northern Territory (NT) Police on Thursday evening confirmed that the body of a 12-year-old boy had been found 120 meters away from where the bodies of a young family were found near an abandoned vehicle on Wednesday.
The young family consisted of a 19-year-old man, 19-year-old woman and three-year-old boy.
Their bodies were found 4.5 kilometers from their broken-down vehicle approximately 300 kilometers north-west of Alice Springs in a remote part of Central Australia.
Outback Australia's leading newspaper, the NT News, on Friday described the incident as "one of the Territory's worst Outback tragedies."
NT Police Desert Division Superintendent Jody Nobbs said that police had not yet ruled out that there might have been more passengers in the vehicle.
"Although police have no information that suggests there were other passengers in the car, we will continue a precautionary land and air search until we are satisfied that all areas of interest have been sufficiently canvassed," he told reporters on Thursday.
The group left Willowra, a small Outback community, for the community of Jarra Jarra, a 114 kilometer trip on dirt roads, on the afternoon of Nov. 2.
The vehicle broke down approximately halfway into the five-hour journey, leaving the quartet stranded.
Facing almost certain death if they stayed put, the group tried to walk 18 kilometers to the nearest community.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius in the region on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The alarm was raised and authorities alerted when a passer-by found the bodies of the family in the shadows of an abandoned car on Wednesday.
An urgent search and rescue operation was organized when members of the Willowra community told authorities that the 12-year-old boy travelled with them.
The incident comes only two weeks after a 27-year-old hiker and 31-year-old motorcyclist died from exposure and dehydration in the Outback in separate incidents.
Authorities advise carrying plenty of water when travelling in the Outback in case disaster strikes.