Car Marooned in Niagara River, Which Led to Rescue, Comes Loose and Goes Over the Falls

The car stuck near the brink of the American Falls, one of the waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls, that was driven into the water and led to a helicopter rescue effort from the Coast Guard went over the falls sometime this weekend and is now underwater.

New York State Park Police said Monday the car was last seen Saturday night as wind and waves were picking up and could not be seen above or below the falls by sunrise Sunday when the water had receded.

Last Wednesday, the car was spotted in the water by visitors to Niagara Falls near a pedestrian bridge and became stuck on rocks about 150 feet from the brink of the waterfall.

Niagara Falls, Police, Woman
U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrian Duryea is lowered from a hovering helicopter to pull a body from a submerged vehicle stuck in rushing rapids just yards from the brink of the American Falls, one of three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls, on December 8 in Niagara Falls, New York. The car that was stuck in the river leading up to American Falls appears to have gone over the edge in a storm over the weekend, and it can't be seen from the shore as of Monday, according to state park police. Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

A Coast Guard helicopter that was conducting a training mission in Michigan was flown in, and a swimmer was lowered about 80 feet from the aircraft to the roof of the car. Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrian Duryea entered through the passenger side, and two minutes later, signaled to be lifted out of the vehicle.

Duryea returned to the helicopter along with a woman in her late 60s who had died before the Coast Guard could reach her vehicle.

A cause of death has not been announced for the woman who authorities said lived in the area, and she has not been named publicly. Police said Thursday it appears that the car was driven into the river on purpose, and the investigation is ongoing.

Niagara Falls, Police, Woman
Tourists stand atop an observation tower on the American side (L), overlooking Niagara Falls on June 4, 2013, at Niagara Falls, New York. The car that was stuck in the river leading to the American Falls, which a woman's body was pulled from last week, appears to have gone over the edge during a storm. John Moore/Getty Images

Before the storm that brought the heavy winds and rising water levels that could have dislodged the car, authorities said they were evaluating how to safely remove the car from the river.

The car appeared to be stuck about 30 to 40 feet from the brink. Pictures posted on Twitter by local news account Niagara Action comparing the river on Saturday and Sunday show that the car is no longer visible above the falls.

The car was not visible amid the mist and boulders at the bottom of the falls.

"However, State Parks will continue to monitor for debris or visual impact," authorities said. "We will evaluate removal if we make visual contact with the car."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.