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Woman found dead after car floats near edge of Niagara Falls

Authorities said the female driver is believed to be in her late 60s.

A woman died Wednesday afternoon after her car was found floating in Niagara River, coming close to going over the Falls, authorities in New York said.

The identity of the woman has not been released but she's believed to be in her late 60s, New York State Parks Police Captain Chris Rola said at a news conference.

The agency said in an update Thursday that it appears the car was intentionally driven into the water. An investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

Authorities were alerted to the vehicle just before 12 p.m. Rola said the car was floating in the river toward the brink of Niagara Falls. Witnesses told police that they believed a person was inside the car.

A picture from the scene showed the car nearly fully submerged with the trunk open. The vehicle became hung up on rocks just some 50 yards short of the edge of the Falls, NBC affiliate WGRZ reported.

"Due to the area where the vehicle was, our swift water team was not able to make a recovery," Rola said. "We contacted the Coast Guard and their helicopter ... came out and was able to make a recovery."

The U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes tweeted that it hoisted an unresponsive female from the driver seat of the vehicle who was pronounced dead at the scene.

A U.S. 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 American Falls on Wednesday in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Sharon Cantillon / The Buffalo News via AP

Rola said the woman was driving the car. Officials believe only one person was in the car, and said it entered the river through an area between a pedestrian bridge and the vehicle bridge.

As of Thursday, the vehicle remained in the water while officials determine the best way to remove it.

The woman was a local, Rola said, but declined to name where she lived.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted on Wednesday she was saddened by "the tragic loss of life at the Niagara River," thanking emergency crews and the New York Power Authority "for lowering river levels to assist first responders."