Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

Search underway after car plunges into Whanganui River

By Jessica Tyson
  • North Island: West Coast

Members of the Whanganui community are in shock after hearing the news that a car had gone off a bridge this morning, on Christmas Day.

Emergency services were advised that a car had gone off Victoria Avenue Bridge near Anzac Parade at around 12:20am, police said.

“The car has become submerged in the river and at this stage it is unknown how many occupants were in the vehicle,” police said in a statement.

Local Raymond Tyson was one of many who gathered to check the scene this morning, while the Police Dive Squad was called to assist the search.

“The divers are still going up and down the river now for them,” he says.

“It’s the third one that’s happened now,” says Tyson, following two accidents in 2007 and 2016 when vehicles also went off a bridge in Whanganui.

He says four sections of handrails on the bridge had gone with the accident.

Police say they are likely to remain at the scene for some time and one lane of the bridge is blocked.