A man and a woman in their 50s have been found dead after divers recovered a vehicle that plunged into Lake Ontario in Burlington last night, Halton police say.

Crews responded to LaSalle Park following reports that a vehicle had gone into the water shortly after 8 p.m.

According to police, the blue sedan crashed through a concrete barrier and a sign and landed 40 to 50 feet out in the water, where it drifted into deeper water and sank.

“Efforts by witnesses, police, the Burlington Fire Department, and Halton Paramedics were unsuccessful in rescuing the trapped occupants from the fully submerged vehicle,” police said in a news release early Wednesday.

Divers and a heavy tow service were eventually able to remove the vehicle form the lake. Inside, police found a 55-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman from Burlington.

The victims have been identified by family as David Black and Natalie Black. The husband and wife lived with their two children.

Neighbour Sheila McKee says she has known the couple since the late 1990s. She told CTV News Toronto that she spoke to Natalie Black around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“It’s a shock of a lifetime,” she said. “I can’t believe it... they're gone.”

“She was one of those people that you wanted to have around as a friend. They were always friendly people.”

Another neighbour said that David Black sometimes helped shovel her driveway in the winter.

“I didn’t know him that well,” Loretta Caco said. “He helped me out, which was very nice.”

The cause of the collision is not yet clear. A collision reconstruction team worked at the scene overnight to try to piece together what happened.

A witness at the scene told reporters that it appeared as if the driver was in some sort of distress.

“It could have been panic. It could have been some kind of medical thing. He was an older gentleman. His arms were kind of locked at the steering wheel. The car was just going down,” Trevor Wadham said.

Wadham said two young men jumped into the water to try and help, but were unable to see anything because of heavy seaweed and algae in the lake.