POLICE DIVERS have arrived at the scene of a tragic car crash into the Tweed River at Tumbulgum yesterday, Monday, April 3 to recover the three occupants, Stephanie King, 43, of Bilambil, her seven-year-old son Jacob Kabealo and her 11-year-old daughter Ella-Jane Kabealo.
It is still unknown how the vehicle crashed into the Tweed River. Police said a crime scene guard had remained overnight until a recovery team could arrive from Sydney.
The tragedy has rocked the local community at an already sensitive time, and several locals have expressed outrage at the media coverage of the event, who they say incorrectly reported that Dulguigan Road was closed at the time of the incident.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy said in a statement yesterday that the road had been closed at the time of the crash yesterday.
“We really understand that people want to get to where they need to be, but this is an extreme event,” he said.
“This is about heeding the warnings of the road closures.”
Several residents said the road was not closed at the time of the incident and the road was not flooded at the time.
A police investigation is underway and more information will be made available as it becomes available.
The Weekly has since received several comments of condolences to the young girl describing the deaths as “heartbreaking”.
“Very sad I was there and I’m pissed the news reports they’re recovering the deceased yet told me in my partner they can’t and won’t do the recovery until tomorrow,” Danielle Scott said.
“Makes me sick that they’re still there and report otherwise on such a tragic event. Rest in peace – poor family and my heart goes out to the precious little girl who got out safely.”
Vanessa Biggs said “such a tragedy. Much love to the little girl who survived. Her life forever changed.”
Keely Tassell said “how did this happen? This is terrible. My prayers for this little girl.”
Martha Baartz said” his is shockingly sad. I just want to wrap my arms around that little girl.”
Tony Mcdonald said “this is such a tragedy my heart goes out to the family. As if tweed hasn’t had a bad enough week. And now this very sad indeed.”
Meanwhile a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the father, Matt Kabealo, a chef from Kingscliff Bowling Club. https://www.gofundme.com/7wv823-cmaa-help-one-of-our-own
THE SEARCH for the three occupants of a vehicle that crashed into the Tweed River earlier this afternoon will resume tomorrow morning as Police divers travel from Sydney.
Police said a crime scene guard will remain at the scene overnight.
Road closures are in place for two kilometres south from the intersection of Dulguigan Road and McCauley’s Road.
A POLICE operation is underway to recover three occupants of a vehicle that entered the Tweed River, near Tumbulgum this afternoon.
Emergency services were called to Dulguigan Road about 1.40pm after a child, who was travelling in the vehicle, was able to escape and raise the alarm with residents at a nearby property. It is believed the three occupants of the vehicle are the child’s mother and siblings.
Bystanders jumped into the Tweed River and attempted to free the occupants from the vehicle but were unsuccessful in their attempts.
Boats using sonar equipment located the vehicle about five metres from the northern river bank around 3.25pm (Monday, April 3).
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy said the death are a major tragedy for the Tweed community.
“That is a tragic event, and we’re concerned it is a tragic event that will unfold over the evening and we understand that it is going to have a major impact on the family and the Tweed community.”
The child was transported to The Tweed Hospital and is being cared for by family members.
Local road closures are in place near the crash site.