Read ABC News
Police say they were contacted at about 7:30pm (ACDT) after a group of seven men got into difficulty.
The men went missing off the coast near the community of Wadeye, about 400 kilometres south west of Darwin yesterday evening.
Police say the group drove to the island at low tide, but when they attempted to return to the mainland their car got bogged in the rising waters.
The group abandoned the car and attempted to swim back to the mainland.
Superintendent Kylie Proctor says five of the men survived by clinging to a floating 44-gallon drum.
“They were located just off the coast still holding on to the drum,” she said.