- Publish Date
- Monday, 14 September 2015, 8:20AM
It was an "idyllic" day on Muriwai Beach as four men took to the sand in a 4WD. But their adventure turned to tragedy as dusk settled over the West Auckland beach after the Mitsubishi Pajero rolled, throwing three of its occupants onto the beach and trapping the fourth.
Just before 5pm someone on the beach called 111. They tried to administer first-aid as emergency services rushed to the scene, about 5km north of the Coast Rd beach access point at Muriwai.
Police, fire and ambulance had to race against the fading light and tide to recover the bodies and crucial evidence.
An Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokeswoman said it appeared that the Pajero had been travelling "at high speed along the sand". It was close to the water's edge when it hit something - possibly hard sand - and rolled multiple times.
Three men died after being thrown from the vehicle and a fourth was trapped inside.
"Our crew worked extremely hard to save him, but unfortunately our attempts were unsuccessful due to the extent of his injuries," said intensive care flight paramedic Russell Clarke.
All four bodies were airlifted to the Muriwai Beach Surf Lifesaving Club at 6pm.
Last night, police were still working to identify the four men and notify their families.
"We'll be working with Victim Support to support these families at this terrible time," said Rodney Area Commander Inspector Mark Fergus.
It is the second 4WD crash with multiple fatalities on Muriwai Beach. In July 2004, Soon Sung Yim and his wife Myeoung Heui Kim were killed in a crash alongside a visitor from Korea. Two other people were injured.
Mr Fergus said it was "logical" to assume the men knew each other but he did not know what their relationship was.
The Serious Crash Unit was investigating and Mr Fergus said it was too early to speculate on whether speed or alcohol were factors. He could not say if the men were wearing seatbelts. "Driving on the beach does carry with it certain risks. Speed is the greatest determinant," he said.
"It's important that people keep their speed down when they're driving on the beach. Of course conditions can change at any time."
Police used a tractor to pull the mangled wreckage out of the surf and gloved officers and firefighters combed the tide line for evidence, collecting debris before it was washed away. "The scene is what it is," said Mr Fergus.
The wreckage lying in the surf at Muriwai beach. Photo- One News
Source- NZ Herald