“Luckily, the car was unlocked and I didn’t have to break out any windows and I was able to open up the passenger side door and push it up against the current,” he said.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew braved poor visibility and frigid rapids to reach a car partly submerged in water near the brink of Niagara Falls, then lowered a rescue swimmer on a hoist who pulled out the woman trapped inside, AP reports.

She did not survive.

Video from the harrowing rescue attempt showed Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrian Duryea, in an orange suit and with an axe in his left hand, buffeted by winds and spraying water as he was lowered 80 feet (24 meters) to the car through falling snow. After slowly spinning and swinging past the car, he was able to grab hold on the passenger side and open the door.

“As I was coming down I was just really focused on how am I going to get in this car when there’s, you know, pretty much rapids coming over the car right next to Niagara Falls,” Duryea said by phone later after returning to Selfridge Air National Guard Base, northeast of Detroit, where the crew is stationed. ”My sole focus was which window or door am I going in.”

“Luckily, the car was unlocked and I didn’t have to break out any windows and I was able to open up the passenger side door and push it up against the current,” he said.

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