River death mystery
MYSTERY surrounds the bizarre death of a woman in Tweed Heads yesterday, after the car she was driving careered up a small steep bank before flying into the Tweed River.
The woman was trapped inside the vehicle and died after it sank in a 12-metre-deep trench of the river at the eastern end of Frances Street.
The car and her body could not be retrieved for more than four hours as emergency workers waited for strong currents to subside.
Police would not speculate on why the woman's car had entered the river, except to say the matter would be subject to a coronial inquest.
Witness Ron Atkins had been reading his paper inside his car by the river when he saw the woman racing down Frances Street at about 10.10am.
"I was scared because she was weaving up and down the street, and I thought she was going to hit my backside. But then she just kept going," he said.
"The car went upside down and straight down into the water."
River resident John Harding estimated the car's speed at 120km/hr and said he saw it hit the river bank, get air and plunge into the river. He said one man jumped in to try and save the woman but could not find the car.
Police, fire and ambulance officers quickly converged on the scene along with the Volunteer Marine Rescue and Tweed District Rescue Squad.
Private dive contractors from Kirra Dive Centre were sent into the water to locate the car but told police the woman could not be removed.
Attempts to salvage the vehicle were put on hold because of fears that the strong incoming current might pull the retrieval crane into the river. A short time after 4pm the car, a purple Mazda 626, was lifted from the river with the woman's body inside.
Police had not released the woman's name last night.