3 Apr 2017

Three feared dead as car swept into NSW river

11:06 pm on 3 April 2017

A car with four people in it has gone into a flooded river in northern NSW, with only a nine-year-old girl escaping.

Chinderah, downriver of Tumbulgum,where the car went into the river.

Chinderah, downriver of Tumbulgum,where the car went into the river. Photo: AFP

The girl managed to escape when the car entered the Tweed River near Tumbulgum, which was still swollen by extensive flooding in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.

Matt Grinham, who went into the water to try to rescue those still trapped in the car, said it had floated about 40m downriver.

"Even though we were diving down to the bubbles we couldn't get deep enough to touch the car," he said.

"It was just one of those things I suppose, you just felt helpless, couldn't do anything."

A resident using a fishing boat with sonar gear found the vehicle underwater about 5m off the riverbank.

Police divers were travelling to Tumbulgum and would continue the search for the others in the morning.

The girl was taken to Tweed Hospital. She was in a stable condition and was being looked after by family members.

Three people have been confirmed dead in flooding from the remnants of Cyclone Debbie: a 77-year-old man who was pulled from floodwaters in Eagleby, south of Brisbane; a woman whose body was found at a flood-affected property in Burringbar; and another woman whose body was was found trapped in her car outside Gungal.


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