13 Aug 2013

Driver's body recovered after bridge crash

10:32 pm on 13 August 2013

A van that plunged into the water after a three-way collision on a Tauranga bridge has been recovered with the driver's body inside.

Two cars and the van were involved in the crash on the Maungatapu Bridge just after 6pm on Monday.

The 23-year-old passenger in the van managed to escape and swim ashore with the help of a police officer, but the driver did not get out.

A police dive team, crash investigation team and bridge engineers have been at the scene of the crash on Tuesday and the bridge reopened in the early afternoon.

Inspector Clifford Paxton told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Tuesday the officer acted bravely in helping the passenger who had been swept about 150 metres from the bridge by strong currents.

The officer and passenger were treated for hypothermia in hospital but have been released. A 45-year-old man involved in the crash remains in hospital with moderate injuries.

The crash site on Maungatapu Bridge.

The crash site on Maungatapu Bridge. Photo: RNZ