Police have recovered three bodies, believed to be aged care worker Stephanie King, 43, 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.
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.”