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.