A woman and two men drowned after a troop carrier trying to cross a flooded causeway south-west of Darwin was swept off the road with 15 people on board.
Police say 12 people managed to escape before the vehicle was pulled into the Moyle River near Peppimenarti sometime before 9:00pm on Friday night.
The vehicle was fully submerged but was located approximately 50 metres downstream of the crossing.
Police recovered the bodies of a 61-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman and were working on retrieving the body of a 21-year-old man on Saturday afternoon.
Duty superintendent Rob Farmer had said on Friday night that police held grave fears for the missing three people.
He said Saturday’s search effort could only begin when the water dropped to a safer level, and divers initially had to contend with concerns about crocodiles in the water,
“It’s a flooded waterway, we’re going to have to wait for the water to recede,” he said.
“The difficulty you’re going to have is getting any recovery vehicle close enough to be able to recover the vehicle.”
The group was made up of people from the predominantly Indigenous communities of Wadeye and Palumpa.
The causeway was covered with 60 centimetres of water at the deepest point on Friday night, and is considered impassable by local police at 40 centimetres.
– with AAP, ABC