11 Sep 2017

Children rescued from river crash that killed father

1:42 pm on 11 September 2017

A passerby rescued three children from a car crash which killed their father on the West Coast.

The car crashed off a bridge and landed upside down in about a metre of water in the Otututu River, on Atarau Road near Ikamatua

The crash was discovered at about 8.20pm yesterday.

A passer-by came across the crash and rescued the children, aged 11, nine and six.

Greymouth senior sergeant Brent Cook said they escaped with grazes and bruises.

Emergency services later found their father's body. He was Tamati James Rae, 32, from Kaikoura.

It is understood the young man who rescued the children came across debris on the river bridge.

He then saw the lights of the car in the water, through his rear view mirror.

"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," Mr Cook said.

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

Mr Cook said the vehicle was being recovered on Monday morning and the road was closed while the Serious Crash Unit inspected the scene.

- RNZ / Westport News