UPDATE @ 1.30pm: Police have confirmed the bodies of a woman and two children have been retrieved from a submerged vehicle which plunged into the flood-swollen Tweed River on Monday afternoon.
Boats using sonar equipment located the sunken car about 5m from the northern river bank around 3.25pm yesterday.
NSW Police said that when divers retrieved the family’s bodies, they found the woman holding onto one of her children.
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“That woman is a hero, she died trying to save her children,” Superintendent Wayne Starling said.
The eight-year-old girl who miraculously survived, is being cared for by family members.
A gofundme page has since been set up to help the young girl and her father.
“The funds raised through your kind donations will help Matt cope financially and emotionally with this devastating event in the short term and help him and his surviving daughter rebuild their lives,” the fundraising page reads.
An investigation into the exact circumstances surrounding the crash is ongoing.
EARLIER @ 4/4/17 6:21AM | Police divers from Sydney will join the search today for a mother and two children, after their car plunged into the flood-swollen Tweed River on Monday afternoon.
A third child, a girl aged about 10, managed to escape the sunken vehicle and raise the alarm.
She is being cared for by family members in Tweed Heads Hospital where she is being treated for lacerations to her feet and neck injuries.
A witness told Channel 7 he saw the child running from the scene, screaming for help.
“We pulled up just after the car went under,” he said.
“There was a little girl running along the road and she was screaming that her mum, her little sister and older brother had gone into the river in the car”.
NSW Police said the car was being driven along a section of Dulguigan Road at Tumbulgum which had been closed because of damage in the wake of ex-cyclone Debbie.
“That road was actually closed because of the debris and the mud on the road,” Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy said.
“We really understand that people want to get to where they need to be and live their lives normally, but this is an extreme event.”
Boats using sonar equipment located the vehicle about five metres from the northern river bank around 3.25pm yesterday.
A crime scene guard remained at the scene overnight.
Road closures are in place for two kilometres south from the intersection of Dulguigan and MacCauley’s roads.
UPDATE @ 5.30pm: A police operation is currently underway to recover the three occupants of a vehicle that entered the Tweed River, near Tumbulgum in northern NSW, this afternoon.
Boats using sonar equipment located the car about five metres from the northern river bank around 3.25pm.
Emergency services were called to Dulguigan Road about 1.40pm after a child, who was travelling in the vehicle, was able to escape and raise the alarm with residents at a nearby property.
That child is now being cared for by family members.
Local road closures are in place near the crash site.
EARLIER @ 4:10pm: An emergency rescue operation is currently unfolding in the Tweed River, with fears an adult and child may be trapped inside a submerged car.
Police say the vehicle crashed into the flooded river at Tumbulgum around 1.40pm today.
A young girl managed to escape and raise the alarm.
She has since been taken to Tweed Heads Hospital where she is currently with family.
There are fears the driver, believed to be a woman, and child may still be trapped in the car, which has disappeared.
A major search is now underway with police using sonar equipment to scour the river for the vehicle.
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) April 3, 2017
— 7 News Queensland (@7NewsQueensland) April 3, 2017