Police have released more details about an accident in which a boy drowned in the Whanganui river on Saturday night.
Silva Natana Horton, 13, was was one of three passengers in the vehicle when it ran off Somme Parade and into the river just before 10pm.
The boy's 14-year-old friend was able to escape, but he and his mother were trapped in the submerged vehicle. His mother was able to be rescued from the van.
A police spokesperson, Kim Perks, says the teen's father was unable to save both his wife and his son.
"(It was a) very tough call. I certainly wouldn't want to be in his shoes at all. He did everything he did to reach both of them as the emergency services did when they arrived."
Ms Perks says both the police and fire crew dived in later to try to save the boy but were unsuccessful.
Silva Horton's body has since been recovered from inside the vehicle which had sunk approximately four-and-a-half metres.
The cause of the crash is now under investigation but neither alcohol nor speed is suspected.