One person remains in a stable condition in Whanganui hospital after a van carrying forestry workers to Whanganui tipped over a bank towards the Whanganui River on State Highway 4 near Upokongaro on Saturday.

The accident happened about 1.40pm on September 21.

The vehicle contained nine people, and three were stretchered up the riverbank and taken to Whanganui Hospital. Only one was admitted.

He was in a stable condition on September 22, a spokeswoman said.


The accident happened just downriver from the Upokongaro Bridge, and damaged a steel roadside barrier.

The van ended up nose-down towards the edge of the river and the occupants were very shaken.

The workers were heading south to plant trees rather than harvest them, in response to a forestry industry downturn in the central North Island.

It took some time to remove the vehicle, Whanganui Fire and Emergency Senior Station Officer Craig Gardiner said.

Whanganui Police Sergeant Kevin Smith said fatigue could have been a factor but the accident is still being investigated.

Marton police, Whanganui firefighters and St John ambulance staff attended.

Whanganui police were busy with another vehicle incident in Victoria Ave at the time.