The unimaginable loss suffered by an Ohakune family has left many locals wondering how they will ever get over it.

Raetihi grandmother Bev Hiscox, 66, and her two grandsons Luka, 10, and JJ Sirett, 5, tragically died after the side-by-side farm vehicle rolled into a farm stock dam on their rural property on the outskirts of the tiny township yesterday morning.

The woman's husband, aged 69, managed to get himself out of the vehicle and was discharged from Whanganui Hospital last night after suffering moderate injuries.

Emergency services scrambled to the scene; one of whom happened to be a son-in-law of the victim.

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He is a firefighter with the Ohakune fire brigade and grabbed a digger to breach the dam walls to release the water.

However, his efforts, and those of his colleagues were fruitless as all three were unable to be saved.

Soon after, news rapidly spread around not only Raetihi but also Ohakune where the brothers were living with their parents Jo Hiscox and Paul Sirett and attended school.

Family spokesman Elijah Pue said "Nanny Bev and Poppa Mike" had been spending "quality time" with their grandsons on the family farm when their side-by-side farm vehicle accidentally went into a farm dam.

"Naturally, the families are distraught but are comforted by the support of the close-knit Waimarino community and their friends.

"The Hiscox and Sirett families are well known in the area and have been here for many years. Bev was a stalwart in the community, a talented gardener and held many voluntary roles across the district."

Hiscox has five daughters and 10 grandchildren.

Many locals spoken to just hours later struggled to contain their shock; the tears instinctively and uncontrollably rolling down their faces, or the voices crackling as the words struggled to come out.

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The overwhelming shock and grief compounded by the loss of the two local boys.

Ohakune School principal Lisa Clark said the school was completely devastated by the loss of "our precious boys and their dearly loved grandmother".

"Our thoughts and love are with the family at this extremely difficult time."

Luka and JJ were very close and had big hearts.

Luka was a Lego Master, avid Mine Craft player and awesome singer. His younger brother JJ had a cheeky smile, who loved snuggles and being in the outdoors, Pue said.

Mayor Don Cameron told the Herald the parents were well known and well respected and well entrenched in community events.

Many cars have been seen coming and going from the property; some have been dropping off food and offering their condolences.

Today, both communities are now well aware of the triple tragedy and are themselves struggling with it and wondering how the family will cope.

Cameron said both council, Fenz, police and victim support were rallying around the family.

Ohakune fire chief John Hotter said they plan to hold a debrief for the fire crew tonight.

He described it as "a tragic accident" but one which Fenz would be helping and offering support to the affected firefighter but the rest of the crew and his family.

Although they are different by name, and separated by just 11km, this triple tragedy has brought the residents of Raetihi and Ohakune even closer.

Friends have been paying tribute to the much-loved trio on Facebook, describing Hiscox as a beautiful person who would be well and truly missed.

Members of the Ohakune Raetihi Garden Club have posted a photo of a single flower on their Facebook page in memory of their special friend and grandmother who spent many hours involved with the club over the years.

Members commented on the club's page that their "great mate's" death would leave a big gap in the club.

Messages of love have also been sent to the parents, with people saying their hearts were breaking for them and remembering their boys' cheeky grins.

Federated Farmers Ruapehu president Luke Pepper said it was an absolute tragedy.

Pepper said most farms in the Ruapehu area have dams - more than one - on their farms to store water for summer.

The dams were starting to fill up in the area after a dry summer.

It had been pretty wet in Raetihi in recent months, but water levels were probably slightly lower than usual.

Pepper said his dams were only about 20 to 30 per cent full at the moment.