NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - A U.S. Coast Guard diver braved death Wednesday to enter a submerged vehicle stuck in rushing rapids just yards from the brink of Niagara Falls.
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 Parks Police said.
It was unclear how the car got into the Niagara River.
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.
"It was an incredible job by the Coast Guard," Park Police Capt. Christopher Rola said at a news conference.
Authorities said the woman lived in the area. Her name was not released pending notification of 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.
Niagara Falls has a history of attracting both daredevils who try to cheat death by plunging over in homemade contraptions, and those driven by suicide.
Rescuers, however, had never been called for a vehicle so close to the edge, Rola said.
He said investigators would try to determine whether the vehicle wound up in the water by accident or intentionally.