Car plunges into river in Aniseed Valley


A swimmer in the Roding River in Aniseed Valley had a near miss when a car plunged off a cliff at the White Gates Reserve and into the water just three or four metres from where they were standing.

The parked car rolled down a slope and over the six metre cliff into the river at the popular swimming and picnic spot on Thursday at about 3pm. A swimmer in the river below watched in horror as the car flew through the air and plunged into the river just metres away.

Police said it was fortunate that nobody was hurt. The swimmer was lucky the car missed them while the passengers had got out of the car before it started rolling down the slope towards the cliff.

The owner and passengers of the car, which had only just been purchased and was uninsured, tried desperately to stop it rolling over the cliff but it was going too fast.

“It started moving and I opened the door and tried to pull up the handbrake but it didn’t stop in time – it had too much speed up,” the owner, who did not wish to be named, said.

One of the owner’s friends also tried to stop the car rolling over the cliff by pushing it back up the slope but the car had too much momentum.

Although the driver said he had put the handbrake on when they parked, police suggested the brake may not have been fully engaged. The car’s automatic transmission may also have slipped out of park.

Tasman District Council staff were called to help clean up a small amount of oil which had spilled from the car’s sump which was damaged as it went over the cliff.

The owner of the car and his friends towed the damaged car out of the river later on Thursday.