Police are warning people not to under-estimate New Zealand’s waterways after nearly two hours was spent rescuing people from the roof of a vehicle in the Rangitikei River near Bulls.
Emergency services were called to reports of the stranded vehicle around 5.30 this evening (Friday, June 18).
Police along with staff from the nearby RNZAF Ohakea Base, Palmerston North’s Rescue Emergency Support Team (REST) and ambulance, all attended the scene.
The local man and woman in their 20s were rescued around 7.15pm by members of REST on an inflatable raft.
The pair told police that they had been driving the 4WD Toyota through the water’s edge to clean it up but the water took hold and they drifted into the middle of the fast-flowing river where it became stranded. They climbed up through the sunroof to the safety of the roof and used a mobile phone to raise the alarm. The vehicle was submerged to the top of the vehicle’s doors.
The vehicle is still in the river and the owners will have to arrange recovery in the morning.
Sergeant Mike Lawton of Feilding Police said: “I think they are feeling a little embarrassed. They were very lucky as it could have had far more serious consequences, and hopefully it will serve as a stark reminder that the waterways of New Zealand pose a number of dangers and should never be under-estimated.”
Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.