A Ballarat man has died after an outback New South Wales road trip turned to tragedy.
Brian Gadd, 33, was found dead in a waterhole about 130 kilometres from Broken Hill after the car in which he was travelling left the road on Tuesday.
Police are believed to be investigating whether drugs may have contributed to his death.
He was travelling with two other people, a man, 21, and a woman, 24, who both survived the crash and were later found alive.
About noon on Tuesday, emergency services received a call from a woman stating she was lost, about one hour’s drive from Broken Hill.
Emergency crews traced data from the call and, using GPS co-ordinates, determined it was made near the Mutawintji National Park – about 130 kilometres north-east of Broken Hill.
Rescue crews were able to get to the car by land around 8pm on Tuesday, but the missing people were not there.
About 9.40am on Wednesday the woman arrived on foot at Acacia Downs station, about 72 kilometres north-east of Broken Hill. She appeared in reasonable health, informing police she had left two men at a waterhole.
Police resumed their search, locating the two men at separate locations on Wednesday afternoon.
The younger man was suffering from exposure and treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics for minor injuries and heat exposure.
Mr Gadd was found soon after in the waterhole, about a kilometre from the car.
Barrier Local Area Commander Superintendent Brad Hodder said Mr Gadd’s companions were still recovering.
Police hoped to speak with them about the incident later on Thursday.
“It is understandable that they have gone through an ordeal throughout the last two days in conditions that would be described as arid and desolate. In some places the grass is around a metre high,” he said.
Superintendent Hodder said people in similar situations should not separate and stay with their vehicle.
“If you do become stranded then please stay with your vehicle, have appropriate clothing and water in the vehicle and do not separate.
“It is also recommended you let people know where you are going and expected times that you will be away.”