Iwi place rāhui after car plunges into Whanganui River

By Talisa Kupenga

UPDATE: 5:30PM

Police recovered the body of a 17-year old man from the waters of the Whanganui river Tuesday afternoon after a vehicle went off a bridge.

Police say emergency services were advised that a four-wheel-drive had gone off the Victoria Avenue Bridge near Anzac Parade around 12:21am and it became submerged in the water.

The Police dive squad was deployed around 1pm Tuesday afternoon.

“Police can confirm one man was found deceased inside the vehicle. Indications are he was the sole occupant,” a police spokesman said.

Family and friends gathered to support each other at the river bank and on the bridge inside the police cordon. Curious spectators were also at the scene.

Local iwi have placed a three-day Rahui on the Whanganui River and have offered prayers and support to the family.

Iwi spokesperson John Maihi says it’s a sad start to Christmas Day.

“We give our greatest condolences to the family, we have offered them support and we are here to support them if they need.”

The investigation into the crash is ongoing and Police would like to speak to any witnesses or individuals with information that may be of assistance.

The rāhui will be lifted Thursday morning.

UPDATE: 12:00PM

Local iwi have placed a rāhui on the Whanganui River after a car plunged into its waters in the early hours of Christmas morning.

Iwi spokesperson John Maihi says it’s a sad start to Christmas Day.

“We went down to the bridge this morning and placed the rahui and depending on how the police search goes, it could be lifted Thursday, but we have to wait and see.”

Police say emergency services were advised that a car had gone off the Victoria Avenue Bridge near Anzac Parade around 12:21am.

The car became submerged in the river and Police were still unclear how many occupants were in the vehicle.

The dive squad is expected to start its search of the river at 1pm.