Kids saved in fa­tal bridge crash


A passer-by ‘‘saved the lives’’ of three chil­dren by res­cu­ing them from an up­side-down ve­hi­cle af­ter it plunged off a West Coast bridge.

Their father, Ta­mati James Rae, a 32-year-old from Kaik­oura, died in the crash, at the Otu­tutu River north of Grey­mouth, on Sun­day night.

The chil­dren, aged 6, 9, and 11, were taken to Grey­mouth Hos­pi­tal.

Emer­gency ser­vices found Rae’s body.

Se­nior Sergeant Brent Cook called the in­ci­dent ‘‘ex­tremely trau­matic’’.

‘‘Po­lice would like to ac­knowl­edge the ac­tions of the res­cuer who has saved the lives of the chil­dren, as well as a lo­cal farmer who gave com­fort and shel­ter af­ter the crash,’’ he said in a state­ment said.

A mem­ber of the public no­ti­fied po­lice af­ter they came across the ve­hi­cle up­side down on the riverbed, on Ata­rau Rd near Ika­matua, about 8.20pm.

A St John spokes­woman said an am­bu­lance was sent to the scene. A he­li­copter was dis­patched, but it was un­known if it would be get through due to poor weather, she said at the time.

The po­lice se­ri­ous crash unit is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

‘‘This has been an ex­tremely trau­matic event for all those in­volved, and po­lice and vic­tim sup­port are con­tin­u­ing to sup­port them.

‘‘The ve­hi­cle is in the process of be­ing re­cov­ered and the road re­mains closed as the Se­ri­ous Crash Unit in­spects the scene as part of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion,’’ po­lice said.

‘‘In­quiries into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the crash are on­go­ing.’’



A per­son died and three chil­dren were in­jured in a crash near Ika­matua on the West Coast on Sun­day night.

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