Bodies pulled from car recovered from West Coast river
The bodies of two tourists have been recovered from a West Coast river, two days after their car plunged over the side of a bridge.
Police used a crane to lift the red Toyota out of the Wanganui River, near Hari Hari, at 10am.
Shortly after, the car was cut open and the two bodies were removed. They were being taken to Christchurch for post-mortems.
The damaged car would be taken to Greymouth and checked by the serious crash unit for mechanical malfunction or other information that could tell police more about the accident.
West Coast area commander Inspector John Canning said the deceased were a male and female, presumed to be a couple, and were foreign nationals.
Canning said information from the public had helped narrow down the identities of the deceased, but their names would not be released until that had been confirmed.
The pair had been driving south along State Highway 6 on Tuesday and approached the one-way bridge across the Wanganui River shortly before 4.30pm.
Witnesses said the car had overtaken other vehicles just before the bridge and might have been travelling at speed.
A family of tourists in a campervan saw the red car smash through the left-hand barrier and go over the bridge.
No-one was seen to exit the vehicle and the car was quickly submerged and not visible from the bridge.
Severe weather hit the West Coast on Tuesday night, hampering recovery efforts.
Overnight the river level dropped and this morning the car was visible about 100m downstream from the bridge.
Members of the police dive squad entered the river this morning to attach ropes to the car, allowing it to be lifted out of the water by crane.
- The Press