At about 1.25pm yesterday afternoon a white Subaru car was travelling north along Anzac Parade, Whanganui when it left the road near the Kiwi Street intersection and plunged into the Whanganui River.
There were five people in the car at the time. Three of the occupants managed to escape from the submerged vehicle and swim to shore.
Several of the vehicle occupants and members of the public entered the river immediately after the crash in an attempt to get to vehicle and those trapped inside.
Fire Service, Police and Ambulance attended the scene. At about 1.38pm emergency services recovered the body of a 38 year old female passenger from the vehicle.
Police believe that the fifth occupant of the vehicle is a young child, aged 2 - 3 years.
Members of the Police Dive Squad have arrived in Whanganui from Wellington. At 5.45pm they descended to the vehicle which is submerged approximately 10 metres below the surface.
Police crash investigators are currently at the scene and are working to determine the cause of the crash.
Police are keen to here from anyone who may have seen the accident or saw the white Subaru car travelling north along Anzac Parade.