17 Feb 2015

'It was going down pretty quickly'

10:24 pm on 17 February 2015

Police have given more details of the dramatic rescue of a woman from a sinking car in Auckland this afternoon.

Auckland Harbour Bridge

The incident took place at a carpark at the Northcote Point Ferry Terminal (not pictured) near the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Photo: 123RF

The drama happened just before 3.15pm after a car plunged off Fisherman's Wharf at Northcote Point and started sinking into Waitamata Harbour.

The police said Constables Paul Watts and Simon Russell raced to the scene immediately.

When they arrived, the vehicle was filling up with water and two members of the public were trying to hold on to it to stop it from submerging any further.

The officers tried unsuccessfully to get into the vehicle then tried to use their batons to smash through a window, which also did not work.

A local reporter who had been nearby taking photos of the Auckland Harbour Bridge then fetched a large rock for the officers, which was used to break the back window.

Both officers then pulled the woman free and removed her to safety.

The 63 year-old woman was taken to hospital - in shock and with cuts and bruises but otherwise unharmed - and is expected to make a full recovery.

Left to right: Area Commander Inspector Shanan Gray, Constable Paul Watts, Constable Simon Russell

Left to right: Area Commander Inspector Shanan Gray, Constable Paul Watts, Constable Simon Russell Photo: RNZ / Carla Penman

'It was very close'

A witness has also descibed how police smashed their way into the sinking car.

Leigh Keown said she rushed down to the scene when she heard a commotion and, when she arrived, the car was sinking.

"It was going down pretty quickly at the front. As soon as they smashed the back window, they dragged her out," Ms Keown said.

"It was very close. It was really scary to watch it. I just didn't know how they were going to get her out. But they did a great job."

How the car came to be in the water is still under investigation.

Waitemata Police District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle said he was extremely proud of the work of both of the officers that helped.

He said, without their efforts, the outcome could have been quite different.

Mr Searle also commended the members of the public for their help.