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Coast Guard diver pulls body from car above Niagara Falls

  • SHARON CANTILLON/BUFFALO NEWS VIA AP
                                First responders monitor a car partially submerged in the Niagara River near the brink of American Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A car entered the Niagara River and became stuck in the rapids just yards from the brink of Niagara Falls on Wednesday, the fate of any occupants of the vehicle unknown. It was not immediately clear how or where the gray car entered the frigid, rushing water or whether anyone was inside.

    SHARON CANTILLON/BUFFALO NEWS VIA AP

    First responders monitor a car partially submerged in the Niagara River near the brink of American Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A car entered the Niagara River and became stuck in the rapids just yards from the brink of Niagara Falls on Wednesday, the fate of any occupants of the vehicle unknown. It was not immediately clear how or where the gray car entered the frigid, rushing water or whether anyone was inside.

  • DEREK GEE/BUFFALO NEWS VIA AP
                                A U.S. Coast Guard rescue diver removes a passenger from a vehicle in the water at the brink of Niagara Falls, N.Y.

    DEREK GEE/BUFFALO NEWS VIA AP

    A U.S. Coast Guard rescue diver removes a passenger from a vehicle in the water at the brink of Niagara Falls, N.Y.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. >> A U.S. Coast Guard diver lowed from the sky today braved frigid rapids to get to a car submerged in water near the brink of Niagara Falls, only to find it was too late to rescue the driver trapped inside.

The diver was lowered from a hovering helicopter, climbed into the car and pulled out the body of its lone occupant, a woman in her 60s, officials from New York’s State Park Police said.

“It was an incredible job by the Coast Guard,” Park Police Capt. Christopher Rola said at a news conference.

It was unclear how the car got into the Niagara River. Witnesses reported seeing it floating near a pedestrian bridge, where it was believed to have gone in. Roads in the area were slippery as a light snow fell.

Photos and videos taken by bystanders showed the car almost completely submerged with only part of the roof and open trunk hatch visible through the whitewater in the early afternoon.

Police used a drone to determine it was occupied.

Authorities said the woman lived in the area. Her name was not released pending notification of her relatives.

After the rescue, the vehicle remained about 50 yards (meters) from the brink of the American Falls, one of three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls. Onlookers watched as emergency crews prepared to try to pull the vehicle from the water.

Rola said the State Park department’s swift-water rescue teams had been unable to get to the car because of its location.

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