Police and Fire officers fought bravely to rescue a boy from a vehicle that crashed into the Whanganui River last night, but were tragically unable to save him.
The incident happened around 9.45pm when a silver Mazda MPV stationwagon crashed into the river from Somme Parade. The 35-year-old woman from Wanganui who was driving the car managed to get out before it became submerged. A 14-year-old boy who was a rear seat passenger also managed to escape but the car submerged with her 13-year-old son Silva Natana Horton still inside. He was a front seat passenger. The two boys are believed to be friends.
Sgt Andrew McDonald said: “It was an incredibly traumatic incident for everyone involved. Police officers in uniform were diving in to try to reach the boy and Fire officers were doing the same trying to hook a rope around the vehicle to pull it within easier reach of the boy. At the same we had staff trying to comfort his distraught family on the river bank.”
The vehicle had sunk approximately four-and-a-half metres and eventually two local search and rescue divers reached Silva but it was too sadly too late to be able to save him.
Silva’s mother and brother were taken to hospital where they were treated for shock and minor injuries. They have since been discharged. Victim Support has been contacted to help provide support those affected by the tragedy.
The cause of the crash is now under investigation and police want to hear from anyone who witnessed the crash or saw the vehicle in the lead up to the crash. Neither alcohol nor speed is suspected at this stage.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Wanganui Police on 06 349 0600.
Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.