Woman on homemade raft wielding 2 knives rescued from Niagara River

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US Coast Guard (Credit: US Department of Homeland Security)

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 54-year-old woman was rescued from the lower Niagara River on Sunday morning despite refusing Coast Guard help and threatening to kill anyone who approached her, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Around 4:30 a.m. the Coast Guard and several agencies responded to a report of a woman on a homemade raft in the river.

Authorities say Border Patrol Agents “maneuvered to initiate a rescue due to the freezing water and air temperatures after they discovered the woman located only 50 yards from the shore.” The woman, a U.S. citizen who was not named, refused to return to shore despite numerous requests.

As the Coast Guard began the rescue, the woman paddled away, but the river current and wake of the Coast Guard boat pushed her close to shore, where agents attempted to reel her in.

The CBP said agents backed away from the woman when she revealed a knife and threatened to kill anyone who came near her. During a second attempt to bring her to shore, she brought out two knives and again made threats.

The knives were eventually knocked from her hands using a fishing net pole, and she was brought to shore. Exhibiting signs of hypothermia, the woman was taken to a hospital by ambulance, the CBP said.

“The heroic actions of agents and officers to save this woman’s life is amazing,” said Patrol Agent in Charge Brady Waikel. “They risked their lives to help a distraught woman in very dangerous conditions.”

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