Police investigating a crash which killed three people in Cardiff have confirmed that the vehicle and its passengers were not discovered for nearly 48 hours.
Darcy Ross, 21, Eve Smith, 21, and Rafel Jeanne, 24, died in the collision in the Welsh capital, while Shane Loughlin, 32, and Sophie Russon, 20, remain in hospital and are understood to be in a critical condition.
South Wales Police confirmed on Friday the time of the collision was 2.03 am on Saturday, 4 March.
The force had previously confirmed that the vehicle was not located until around 12.15am on Monday, 6 March.
Police say the white Volkswagen Tiguan vehicle left the A48 in the St Mellons area of Cardiff into a wooded area.
Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, Mr Jeanne’s sister Ffion Actie said she was “disappointed” with the police response to the incident, saying detectives “should have acted straight away”.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has decided to investigate how South Wales Police and Gwent Police handled missing person reports in relation to this incident.
The five, who were from the Cardiff and Newport areas, had been previously reported missing before the vehicle was discovered and Gwent Police say they received the first report of a missing person at 7.34pm on Saturday evening.
The time of the crash was established by the investigating team after “extensive enquiries”, which included looking at CCTV and number plate recognition cameras in the area.
Police say post-mortems are ongoing.
‘Hugely difficult time’
A vigil was held near the site of the crash on the A48 on Tuesday evening, with a two-minute silence and fireworks display held in honour of the victims.
South Wales Police are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen the Volkswagen Tiguan to come forward, adding that there is no suggestion that another vehicle was involved.
Anyone with dashcam footage – who was travelling along the A48 Eastern Avenue between Cardiff and the St Mellons off slip, which connects to the A48, A48(M), B4487 and Cypress Drive roundabout (near a garden centre) – is urged to come forward.
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Assistant Chief Constable Jason Davies of South Wales Police said: “The investigation is making good progress in piecing together the events leading up to the collision. Specialist officers will continue to carry out a detailed investigation which will enable us to provide the facts of what happened during the early hours of Saturday morning.
“Our thoughts continue to be with the families and all those affected by this tragic incident. Family liaison officers are supporting the families involved at what must be a hugely difficult time for them.”