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Charges laid over West Coast river deaths

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/05/2017
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The father who lost his two-year-old daughter when she was swept away in a West Coast river last year has been charged over her death, as well as the death of the man that tried to save the child.

Michael Saunders appeared in Greymouth District Court on Friday, facing two counts of dangerous driving causing death, police have confirmed.

The 35-year-old, who has pleaded not guilty, was remanded on bail to reappear next month and the case will likely go to trial after that.

In June last year, five people were in a 4WD trying to cross the swollen Poerua River, south of Hokitika.

The vehicle got stuck and two-year-old Emily Saunders was swept away when they got out to try and make it to shore.

Barry Petrie, 66, lost his life when he tried to swim after and rescue Emily.

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