Wellington Scoop

Upper Hutt woman swept away and drowned in Northland floods

An Upper Hutt woman was drowned in the Northland floods yesterday. She was Talia Kiri Smith, aged 28 years, who was swept away in flood waters after trying to hang on a tree.

News from NZ Police
Police have found the body of a woman in the Waitangi River. A search for the woman began early on Saturday morning morning after she was swept away when attempting to get back to a house from her partly submerged car.

The woman’s body was found about 1km from where she went into the water.

Police and Fire Service used helicopters, jet skis and IRBs to rescue several people stranded by flood waters at the Waitangi River, Haruru Falls on Saturday morning. The area was extensively flooded and there were strong currents across paddocks leading into the Waitangi River.

The woman who drowned had been hanging onto a tree in the river. It is believed she came from a nearby house where the occupants had been partying most of the night. She was swept away while trying to get back to the house from her partially submerged vehicle.

The helicopters and SAR staff continued an air search of the Waitangi River in treacherous conditions in an effort to find the missing woman who was a visitor from the Wellington region.

Police found another three people either stuck in trees or on top of car and shed roofs. They began rescuing these people using helicopters, jet skis, IRBs and ropes and managed to rescue two people who had spent a long time in the water.

The incident was managed from the Northland Police District Command Centre and the courageous efforts of Police and Fire staff and local civilians led to the successful rescue of three stranded people.