Police returned to Wyndham Vale today to investigate the deaths of three children after a vehicle ploughed into a lake on Wednesday afternoon.
A boy, aged one, and a girl and boy, both aged four, lost their lives to the sunken Toyota 4WD, while a five-year-old girl involved was taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital in critical condition.
Many local residents dived into the Lake Gladman in efforts to save the children, with one man smashing out the rear window to retrieve a child.
The 35-year-old driver and mother of the children was released from Royal Melbourne Hospital last night.
The mother of seven remains in police custody and is expected to be formally interviewed this afternoon.
It is still unclear whether the crash was intentional, but the homicide squad and major collision investigation are handling the case.
Detectives are calling for any witnesses around the time of the incident.
“Police particularly wish to speak to anyone who saw the car between 3.30 and 3.45pm,” police said in a press release. “The car remained submerged in the lake overnight and is expected to be removed at some stage this morning.
“The road remains blocked and drivers are encouraged to avoid the area” police said.
Nikita Avellaa, from Manor Lakes, said she was drawn to the scene after reading alarming Facebook statuses from fellow community members.
“The atmosphere was hard to explain, it was very emotional to see,” Nikita told the Newsroom. “There was an uncountable amount of police officers, ambulance members, SES workers who were beside the lake… there was a chopper above circling.
“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “It really brought the whole community together. I hope the council looks into barriers of some sort as the lake is right next to the road. This shouldn’t have happened.”
Local resident April Pickard said she will visit the site today alongside many mourning neighbours. She is one of many who has taken to social media to share her grief.
– Jessica Ankomah.
Top photo by Nikita Avellaa used with permission.