Fishermen saved Hong Kong family after van plunged from New Zealand bridge

Onlookers jumped in to save Hong Kong family after their van plunged into New Zealand river

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 4:48am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 5:15pm

A group of fishermen helped save nine members of a Hong Kong family after the van they were travelling in plunged off a bridge into a New Zealand river, local media in the country reported.

The Australian fishermen were nearby when the van, driven by a Hong Kong man travelling on a Canadian passport, plummeted into the river on Tuesday.

The 59-year-old driver is thought to have died on impact, but the fishermen jumped into the Mataura River to save the passengers who were trapped in the vehicle, according to a senior police sergeant quoted by New Zealand media.

All of the people on board were reported to be Hong Kong residents and members of the same family. All held either Canadian or Chinese passports; diplomats from both countries were helping police.

Seven of the survivors were not admitted to hospital, local media reported last night.

A staff member at Dunedin Hospital confirmed that a 68-year-old was discharged yesterday morning. Local media reported that the 52-year-old wife of the driver was expected to be released from Southland Hospital yesterday after treatment for neck injuries. A spokeswoman for the hospital, in the city of Invercargill, last night told the Post she had no information on the patient's condition.

None of the people involved in the crash had been publicly identified as of last night.

Police were reported to have completed their investigations at the accident scene: a single-lane bridge on a gravel track south of Queenstown.

The Chinese consulate in Christchurch could not be reached for comment yesterday.