A mother and her two children have perished after their car plunged into the Tweed River.
Police are hailing mother of three, Stephanie King, 43, a hero for her desperate attempt to save her children from their sinking car. Her body was reportedly found clutching one of her children when their bodies were recovered form the car, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Police recovered three bodies of aged care worker and her children Ella-Jane, 11, and Jacob, 7, from a submerged vehicle in the Tweed River, near Tumbulgum, in northern NSW.
The car plunged into the river around 1.40PM yesterday and authorities were alerted to the disaster by King’s daughter Chloe, 8, who managed to escape. She is now in the care of family members.
“That woman is a hero, she died trying to save her children,” Tweed Byron Local Area Command Superintendent Wayne Starling told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “I have no doubt she would still be alive if she wasn’t trying to save her children.”
Starling said that the Bilambil, NSW mum “was trying to get one of the children out of the car when she passed away. She was holding the child.”
Their deaths bring the toll to eight in a flood disaster that has devastated regions from Rockhampton in central Queensland to the Tweed River region in NSW’s north. “This is the biggest disaster in Lismore’s history,” mayor Isaac Smith tells WHO. “There are a lot of people who have lost everything.”
Police are currently investigating whether barriers were in place where the car veered off the road, but locals have slammed reports Ms King was driving on a closed road at the time of the accident.
“It’s hard enough that this family has the loss, but for the public to think she was doing something that was negligent," Living Waters Church Pastor Rob Stuttle told The Daily Telegraph. "I wanted to right that injustice and make sure the truth got out there.” Living Waters Church Pastor Rob Stuttle said.
Would you know how to escape if your car became submerged under water? Watch this video on how to escape a sinking car.