A MAN who went for a walk by the Whanganui River returned to find his car had rolled into the incoming tide.

Fire, police and ambulance services were called to the Kowhai Park area immediately downriver from Whanganui's Dublin St Bridge yesterday, just before 11am.

Fire Service Station Officer Jes Sorensen said the two trucks arrived and were told a car was in the water. It could not be seen.

"Our only concern was whether there was anyone in it," he said.


The Fire Service always carries lifejackets to jobs. Paul Doughty put one on and dived for the submerged car. After he emerged bubbles came up out of it. He then went back in and attached a rope to it.

By that time a small crowd had gathered.

A fire truck pulled the car to the side of the river. Police checked the boot, found the registration number and were able to ring the registered owner.

One police officer at the scene said the car's handbrake was found to be off. Another was unsure whether that was why it rolled.

The car was a Subaru WRX, "an expensive little car with an expensive sound system in it", one bystander said.

The registered owner showed up there a short time later, according to a police officer.

"He had gone for a walk."