Niagara Falls, N.Y. — The car that ended up in the Niagara River and sparked a dramatic helicopter rescue effort on Wednesday did not enter the water by accident, according to The Buffalo News.
“At this point in the investigation, entry into the water appears to be an intentional act,” New York State Park Police Capt. Christopher Rola said in an emailed statement to the News.
The incident began just before noon when 911 callers reported a car had entered the roaring waters of the Niagara River. The vehicle became stuck on the riverbed about 50 yards from the brink of the American Falls.
A dramatic scene followed as dozens of people watched a Coast Guard diver drop down to the car from a helicopter and pull a woman out. She was already dead.
The woman’s cause of death has not been determined, Rola said, according to the News.
Police had not said until now whether the incident was accidental or intentional.
The woman involved has not yet been identified. She was described as being in her 60s and from the local area.
Authorities are also still trying to determine what to do with the car, according to the News. Although it was upright during the rescue efforts Wednesday, it has now flipped and moved much closer to the edge of the falls.
Police praised the diver for his actions during the rescue attempt, despite the sad ending.
The diver, Derrian Duryea, spoke to WIVB in Buffalo. He told the station it was satisfying he could help bring some closure to the woman’s family.