It Appears Woman Knowingly Drove Into Niagara River

Police say tire tracks in snow reportedly show entry through gap in barrier
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2021 9:20 AM CST
Cops: Woman Deliberately Drove Into River at Niagara Falls
A US Coast Guard diver, tethered to a hovering helicopter, pulls a body from a submerged vehicle stuck in rushing rapids just yards from the brink of Niagara Falls on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/ Jeffrey T. Barnes)

The woman found dead in a car near the brink of Niagara Falls on Wednesday may have ended up there deliberately. "Entry into the water appears to be an intentional act," New York State Park Police said Thursday, per the AP. The car driven by the woman in her 60s from Western New York came to sit just 150 feet upstream from the brink of the American Falls, one of three waterfalls that make up the landmark. Police now believe she drove into the Niagara River more than 1,000 feet upstream near a vehicle bridge to Goat Island, a small tourist island situated between Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls, reports WIVB.

Tire tracks in the snow indicated the driver drove down a walking path, then backed up and drove through an opening in a barrier to the upper rapids near the vehicle bridge, police tell the outlet. The Power Authority lowered water levels in the river before the US Coast Guard attempted a rescue, per Fox News. Diver Derrian Duryea, who reached the car via helicopter, ended up finding and recovering the driver's body. A cause of death has not been determined. However, WIVB, which spoke with Duryea on Thursday, reports the woman was in the river for two hours before the rescue crew arrived from US Coast Guard Station Detroit.

"Our biggest concern was the car's position, was the car gonna move, what were we gonna do if I was down there and the car started to move," says Duryea. Officials are working to determine how to safely remove the vehicle. Meanwhile, Duryea is crediting his whole crew with bringing closure for the woman's family. That includes aircraft commander Chris Monacelli, helicopter co-pilot Jake Wawrzyniak, and light mechanic Jon Finnerty. (If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.)

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