MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A woman is dead after she drove into a canal in Westchester County.

As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reports, video shows the Jeep SUV moments after it plunged 20 feet down into the canal separating Pelham Manor and Mount Vernon.

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(credit: CBS2)

Workers from nearby businesses came out to see what happened.

“We saw the car sitting there. And slowly it was capsizing this way and going down,” said witness Damien Castori.

It happened around 8 a.m. Friday. The woman drove through a fence at a BJ’s gas station, and into the water. Moments later, the vehicle was submerged.

Witnesses say the the first responder on the scene was a police officer who risked his own life to try and save the driver.

“He immediately took off all of his uniform and jumped into the water. He must have been there at least 15-20 minutes,” said witness Jose Miranda.

But the water was too dirty and murky, making a rescue impossible.

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“He was doing the best he can, but it was pretty much hopeless. Because if you know these waters, there’s nothing but glut, mud, and just nasty stuff in there. You can’t see,” said witness John Valente.

(credit: CBS2)

“Very murky water. It’s an industrial area of the city,” said Kim Robert Odindo, chief of operations of the Mount Vernon Fire Department.

Firefighters from Pelham Manor and Mount Vernon responded, and FDNY divers were called in. Eventually, a woman’s body was recovered.

“I’m shaking because you couldn’t do anything. You had to just sit here and watch somebody die,” Castori said.

The Jeep was pulled from the water around 10 a.m.

Fire officials and police would not speculate about why the woman drove into the water. Investigators have pulled surveillance footage from the station to try and figure out what happened.

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Nick Caloway contributed to this report. 

CBSNewYork Team