Fisherman's frantic rescue effort after car plunges into Auckland Harbour
An Auckland fisherman tried in vain to smash windows and save a person trapped inside a car which drove into Auckland harbour on Tuesday night.
The car was pulled from the water close to Auckland Harbour Bridge at 10.30pm, more than two and a half hours after sinking.
Police have now identified the body, which was recovered along with the car at Westhaven Marina.
His family are being notified and his death is being referred to the coroner.
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A squid fisherman, who gave his name as Mike, tried to save the car's sole occupant.
He said he saw the car "plunge" into the water near his boat.
Visibly shaken, Mike said the person had tried to open a car door, but that the water had pushed it closed.
Before the car and its occupant sank from view, Mike said he tried unsuccessfully to smash the vehicle's rear windscreen from his boat.
He said the "whole thing happened very quickly".
Another eyewitness, called Jack, said the car was a silver Toyota Prius that had been driving about 30kmh before going straight into the water.
The car was almost underneath the Harbour Bridge, after having driven off Curran St, Westhaven. It was later towed, upside down, from the water.
Three firefighters went into the water to try to rescue the trapped person. The police dive squad and the serious crash unit had raced to the scene.
The crash underneath the Auckland Harbour Bridge sparked a large-scale emergency rescue operation.
Fire and Emergency NZ, police and ambulance were alerted at 7.21pm and a police spokesman said they were on the scene in minutes, "with fire crews stripping off and jumping in the water to get to the car".