US Coast Guard Pilot Speaks on Niagara Falls Submerged Car Rescue Attempt

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

One brave member of the U.S. Coast Guard risked his own life in order to save the life of a woman whose car plunged into Niagara Falls. It’s the first time a car almost went over the edge of the falls.

On Wednesday, a woman’s car ended up in Niagara Falls. It was slowly approaching the 180-foot-high drop, which is nearly impossible to survive. Especially for someone inside a vehicle.

Coast Guard Members Talk Niagara Falls Rescue

A nearby Coast Guard team was getting ready for a training flight when they got the rescue call. According to The Sun, the crew was at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Detroit. This is about an hour away from the scene of the incident.

“About 30 minutes in the flight, we got some pictures of the on-scene conditions and what was going on with the car. Still didn’t have any confirmed people in the car yet, just knew that there was a car for sure in the water near the falls,” said Lt Chris Monacelli, the leader of the rescue crew, to the news publication.

There was a snowstorm that was limiting visibility in the area drastically. At some points, there was only a half-mile of visibility. They had to fly right below the storm in order to get there.

In order to avoid possible collision with things like a windmill, the crew followed a road all the way to Niagara Falls. To make matters even more dangerous, the precipitation made it so by the end of the hoist they couldn’t even see out the windows.

Conclusion to the Rescue Mission

Now, Monacelli had to hold that helicopter as steady as possible. As this is happening, Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Derrian Duryea went into the water. He dropped out of the helicopter into 20-degree weather. “So on my way down, I ended up landing on the passenger side of the car and I went right for the door handle. Luckily, the doors were unlocked,” Duryea said.

The crew was able to make it to the woman and lifted her up to other responders. Sadly, she was pronounced dead on the scene.

As of now, the entire situation is still under investigation. The identity of the woman is currently confidential. Authorities are trying to figure out what factors led her to fall into the river, to begin with. She may have intentionally driven into the water.

Over the years, there have been several people that have intentionally conquered Niagara Falls. The very first recorded person to survive this was Annie Taylor in 1901. She got into an airtight wooden barrel and the air pressure inside was compressed with a bicycle pump.