Car near the edge of Niagara Falls; the rescue team pulls the body of the vehicle

In a daring mission just yards from Niagara Falls, crew members of a US Coast Guard helicopter on Wednesday extracted the body of a woman from a vehicle almost completely submerged in the icy rapids.

Locals began calling authorities around noon local time after seeing a black vehicle descend the Niagara River, New York State Park Police Captain Chris Rola said. A person seen inside was not moving, he added.

“Today we mourn the loss of a life”, The Great Lakes Coast Guard tweeted Wednesday evening. “We salute the readiness and courage shown today by our crew to perform an 80 foot winch from a submerged vehicle 20 meters from the top of Niagara Falls in inclement weather.”

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Temperatures in the area were around freezing and the water temperature was around 43 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Rola said whitewater rescue teams could not reach the vehicle due to “inherent danger” and called on the US Coast Guard for help. The dramatic rescue was caught in pictures and video posted on social media, which shows the car almost completely submerged with only part of the roof and an open trunk hatch visible through whitewater.

A first responder holds the body of a person who was extracted from a partially submerged vehicle in the Niagara River near the edge of the American Falls, Wednesday, December 8, 2021, in Niagara Falls, NY

Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrian Duryea, a Detroit-based lifeguard, got off a hovering helicopter, got into the car, and pulled out the body of its lone occupant, a woman in her sixties, officials of New York State Park Police and Coast Guard mentioned.

The video showed Duryea, dressed in an orange suit and with an ax in his left hand, tossed by winds and spraying water as he was lowered towards the car through the falling snow. After slowly turning and passing the car, he was able to grab onto the passenger side, open the door, and disappear inside.

About two minutes later, as water surged around the vehicle and over the precipice downstream, Duryea emerged and waved to the helicopter, which then hoisted him and the motionless driver out. some water.

“It was an incredible job on the Coast Guard’s part,” Rola said at a press conference. He said rescuers had never been called in a vehicle so close to the edge.

The woman was pronounced dead after being taken ashore.

Rola said it was not known how or why the woman entered the river, but said the vehicle entered an area between a pedestrian bridge and a vehicle bridge.

Rola said investigators would try to determine whether the vehicle entered the water by accident or intentionally. He said the woman lived in the area. His name has not been disclosed pending notification of his relatives.

After the rescue, the vehicle remained near the edge of American Falls, one of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls. Onlookers watched as emergency crews prepare to attempt to pull the vehicle out of the water.

The roads in the area were slippery due to the light snowfall.

Contribution: Associated Press

First responders monitor a car partially submerged in the Niagara River near the edge of the American Falls, Wednesday, December 8, 2021, in Niagara Falls, NY

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