Newspaper article about the death at Lake Eyre
On the 13th December 1998, Caroline Großmüller died on the road from the
Oodnadatta Track to Lake Eyre North. At the time, the incident made front page
news in the national newspapers, and I had kept the newspaper clippings from The Australian of 17 December 1998
as a warning for our friends from Central Europe. The people had made a number
They had gone in the middle of the summer, where the temperatures reach 50° C in
the daytime. Apart from the fact that it's pretty gruelling, it also meant that
they were just about alone on the road.
When they got bogged down in the sand, they decided not to stay with the car,
but to walk back instead. This is against all we've ever been taught, but I
wonder if it wasn't the best thing to do anyway, since obviously nobody had come
looking for them.
The most ironic thing of all is that Ms. Großmüller went straight past a
drinking trough just a few hundred yards before she died. The ranger thinks
that she might have already been too far gone to notice; but if she had, she
probably would have survived.
Incidentally, the newspaper article is very inaccurate:
Halligan Bay, where they got bogged down in sand, is directly on Lake Eyre, not
50 km away, as they suggest.
The photo on the left shows South Lake Eyre, directly on the Oodnadatta track
(we went past it yesterday).
The map is just plain wrong. As you can see, Ms Großmüller was shown to have
died in the middle of nowhere. In fact, it was on the road. The road shown
going North off the Oodnadatta track (and somehow getting to Oodnadatta instead
of the track) is a figment of somebody's imagination.