Niagara Falls, N.Y. (AP) — 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.
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 current in the early afternoon.
The vehicle was about 100 yards (91 meters) from the brink of the falls at Prospect Point, a prime viewing area, The Niagara Gazette reported. Onlookers watched as emergency crews prepared to try to pull the vehicle from the water.
Roads in the area were slippery as a light snow fell.
A woman was pulled from a vehicle trapped in the rapids at the top of Niagara Falls on Wednesday afternoon. She was the sole occupant of the vehicle.
The Buffalo News reported that a person was pulled from the vehicle shortly after 2 p.m. The Coast Guard had arrived at the scene and a Coast Guard officer equipped with an axe was lowered from a helicopter to extract a person from the vehicle.
Police told reporters at the scene that a woman in her 60s was the only occupant of the vehicle. She was unresponsive at the scene. She was described as a local, and the black Toyota Camry she was driving was registered to a Williamsville address.
An ambulance was brought down to receive the woman, according to Buffalo News’s Stephen T. Watson.
Police said witnesses saw her enter river between the Goat Island vehicle and pedestrian bridges. They are still investigating whether it was an intentional act.
Police used a drone to look inside the vehicle, determine the occupants and scan the license plate, according to Watson.
The vehicle was still submerged while crews determined the safest way to extract it as of 2:40 p.m. on Wednesday.
This followed an update posted by the NiagaraAction Twitter account a Niagara County Sheriff’s helicopter flying over the scene.
The news broke earlier Wednesday afternoon as the same account shared video of the car submerged in the rushing water about 100 yards from the brink of Niagara Falls.
The video showed the car with an open trunk partially submerged as water rushed around and over top of it.
News 4 Buffalo’s Abby Fridman confirmed that the car was located in the rapids on the American side of the falls near Prospect Point.
Emergency crews had arrived at the scene shortly before 1 p.m. and were attempting to pull the vehicle from the water.
A state parks police officer was seen putting on diving gear, according to the Buffalo News.
“I thought I saw a person in it. It kept floating,” Jeremy Smith told the Niagara Gazette. “I thought I saw a guy. The person next to me thought they saw a woman and maybe a child in the back seat.”
The New York Power Authority decreased water flow to assist with the rescue, according to the Gazette.