A body has been lifted into a rubber police boat at Tumbulgum near the site on Dulguigan Road where a car driven by Stephanie King, 43, left the slippery, flood affected road and plunged into the Tweed River yesterday afternoon.
Ms King’s eight-year-old daughter, Chloe May managed to escape the car and raise the alarm but her two other children Ella Jane, 11, and Jacob, 7, are believed to have perished in the sunken car together with their mother.
Earlier report: Police divers have joined a recovery operation for three people who are believed to have drowned when their car crashed into the Tweed River near Tumbulgum yesterday afternoon (Monday April 3).
The three are believed to be members of the same family: a 43-year-old mother mother, her seven-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.
Emergency services were called to Dulguigan Road about 1.40pm after a nine-year-old girl, who was also travelling in the vehicle, was able to escape and raise the alarm with residents at a nearby property.
Boats using sonar equipment located the vehicle, which drove off the road and into the river at around 3.25pm.
Tweed Byron LAC Chief Inspector Mick Dempsey said the car was about five metres from the northern bank of the river.
‘I think it’s gone from a rescue operation to a recovery operation,’ he told ABC radio on Tuesday.
The nine-year-old girl suffered only scratches and cuts but no life-threatening injuries.
‘She’s obviously traumatised by the incident,’ Insp Dempsey told ABC radio.
The child is now being cared for by family members.
It’s reported the road the car was travelling on was closed and covered in flood debris, but locals had been using to get to homes in the area.
‘We’re concerned it is a tragic event that will unfold over the evening and we understand that it is going to have a major impact on the family and the Tweed community,’ NSW Police assistant commissioner Jeff Loy told the ABC.
It’s the latest tragedy in what’s been a devastating few days for flood-hit northern NSW residents, with two women aged 36 and 64 confirmed dead and a man dying of a heart attack.
Local road closures are in place near the crash site.
– with AAP
Police divers have recovered three bodies from a submerged vehicle in Tweed River, near Tumbulgum in northern NSW.
The bodies are yet to be formally identified. Police divers are yet to recover the vehicle.
The eight-year-old girl is being cared for by family members.
Officers from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command will investigate the exact circumstances surrounding the crash.