The young girl who was the sole survivor of a horror crash into a river in New South Wales in which her Kiwi mum and two siblings died has broken her silence for the first time.

New Zealander Stephanie King tried to save all three children when their vehicle crashed and sank into the Tweed River.

Chloe-May Kabealo, 8, was the only survivor and attended a fundraiser at Tweed City cinemas for her family yesterday morning, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports.

She spoke of her escape from the sinking car on April 3, saying she loved and missed her mum and siblings, Ella-Jane, 11 and Jacob, 7.


"I unbuckled my belt and swam up," she said.

"I tried to go up for air and then I just kept floating up out of something and then I got out."

She ran to the closest property she could find, a farmhouse about 200 metres away to ask for help.

Chloe-May said they took her in, gave her clean clothes and dressed her cuts.

"They just took me in and let me change into clean clothes and cleaned up all my cuts on my feet," she said.

Father Matt Kabealo said he was "shattered", but trying to be strong for his daughter.

"We're just going to get through it the best we can," he said.

Mr Kabealo, a chef, was not in the family car when it skidded off wet roads into the flood-swollen river at Tumbulgum.


Locals and an off-duty police officer dived into the river to save the family, but they could not be reached.

A GoFundMe page set up days after the fatal crash has so far raised $156,687 of its $165,000 target.