Bodies pulled from car recovered from West Coast river video

Sarah-Jane O'Connor/Fairfax NZ

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.

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.

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR/The Press SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR/The Press Sarah-Jane O'Connor Sarah-Jane O'Connor Sarah-Jane O'Connor SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR/FAIRFAX NZ Sarah Jane O'Connor Sarah-Jane O'Connor SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Police use a crane to recover the car from the river.

The car became exposed when the river level dropped on Thursday morning.

Rescuer lifts a suitcase from the swollen Wanganui River. It was snagged on rocks near from where a car remains trapped underwater.

NZCC rescue helicopter from Greymouth lands on Wanganui Bridge after seemingly pulling an object from the river about 200m downstream.

A tow truck parked near the Wanganui Bridge, where a car plunged over the side yesterday.

Jason McBride and Eco Rafting owner Josh Marcotte rush to search the Wanganui River, near Harihari, for signs of a car that went through the bridge railings. Glenn 'Weka' Kay, centre, had just come off the river with a rafting group

A car smashed through bridge railings into the Wanganui River on the West Coast.

A rescue helicopter from Greymouth joined the search yesterday for a car which plunged into the Wanganui River.

Staff from nearby Eco Rafting search the Wanganui River for signs of a car.

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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.

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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

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