Video captures moments before a woman’s car plunges off Port Lands bridge into lake
Chris Fox and Rachael D'Amore, CTV Toronto
Published Friday, October 28, 2016 6:17AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 28, 2016 6:08PM EDT
The moments before a woman’s car plunged off a bridge on Cherry Street yesterday and into the lake below was captured on security camera footage obtained exclusively by CTV Toronto.
The woman was killed in the crash. Her body was recovered from the wreckage by divers with the Toronto Police Marine Unit Friday morning.
The video shows the Toyota Corolla speeding as it made its way north on Cherry Street Thursday afternoon.
As the vehicle gets to the lift bridge, it crosses the median, jumps the sidewalk and smashes through the guardrail before plunging into Lake Ontario.
The vehicle remained submerged until just before 11 a.m. Friday and needed to be pulled from the frigid waters using a heavy tow truck.
“They were probing the area with rods – 40-foot rods – to determine where the vehicle was based on it sinking into the ground,” Toronto Police Const. Clint Stibbe told CTV Toronto. “The vehicle was a little further out than they originally expected.”
The car was slowly winched up by a large tow truck parked on the bridge. Meanwhile, a tug boat pushing a barge approached the car as it hung alongside the bridge.
Motor oil, coolant, lake water and other fluids poured back into the lake as the car hung suspended in the air.
The tug transported the damaged vehicle to another location so it could be inspected by police.
The water in the area where the vehicle was found is about 10 metres deep and on Thursday night police described the search as a recovery effort rather than a rescue mission.
Following the incident, a cyclist jumped into the water to try to assist but was unable to rescue the driver. The cyclist was subsequently taken to hospital for the treatment of hypothermia.
Police were later able to locate the car on Thursday; however the woman’s body was not immediately found and recovery efforts were suspended at around 6:30 p.m. due to nightfall.
Police also said that they believe they know who was operating the vehicle at the time but will not be able to confirm their identity until recovering the body.
The cause of the crash, meanwhile, remains unknown with police expected to investigate a number of potential scenarios, including a medical episode, driver error, mechanical issues with the vehicle, possible driver impairment or a potentially deliberate act.
“There is a data recorder on board most vehicles, so there is a possibility that it may have survived the submerging in the water. We are going to take that unit out of the vehicle obviously to download it, but it’s something we need time to do,” Stibbe said.
As part of their investigation, police will also review the surveillance camera footage of the crash.