Bystanders step in after car sinks in river

A ute plummeted into the Waikato River near the low level bridge at about 12:25pm on Saturday

A 60-year-old Tauranga woman died in Waikato Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit on Monday afternoon after the ute she was travelling in went off the highway and plunged 10 metres into the river near the low level bridge.

The man with her, believed to be her husband, was taken to hospital in a moderate condition. Four police cars, three ambulances and a fire engine attended the scene.

The pair had been heading north on the former-main road, towing a boat trailer, when they approached the roundabout near the bridge, and reportedly missed it and went over the edge. The vehicle plummeted down the steep riverbank and into the water, at about 12:25pm on Saturday, rapidly disappearing beneath the surface.

Bystanders jumped into the river and pulled the two from the submerged vehicle

Bystanders, including an off-duty police officer, jumped into the river and pulled the two from the submerged vehicle.

Once on the banks, CPR was initiated on the woman, reportedly for up to an hour, until she regained a pulse.

She was taken to hospital in a critical condition and died Monday afternoon.

On Monday a boat could be seen searching river near the bridge in search of the submerged ute. Police Serious Crash Unit was investigating.

A boat could be seen on Monday trawling the Waikato River near the low level bridge believed to be searching for the ute.

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