November 12, 2017 12:52 pm
Updated: November 12, 2017 12:54 pm

One person dead after vehicle flips into Richelieu River

A 38-year-old woman is dead after her vehicle plunged into the Richelieu River in Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu overnight. Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017.

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The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) is investigating after a 38-year-old Sorel woman was killed overnight in a single-vehicle collision in Saint-Charles-Sur-Richelieu — roughly 50 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

SQ spokesperson Daniel Thibodeau said the woman was heading towards Sorel on the Chemin des Patriotes when she lost control of her vehicle coming out of a slight curve.

The vehicle then hit a hydro pole before landing upside down in the Richelieu River.

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Residents in the area alerted emergency crews at around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, after hearing the crash and losing power.

READ MORE: Quebec man in critical condition after car plunges into St. Lawrence River

Thibodeau said that the first officer at the scene followed a trail of debris before locating the vehicle in the water.

“He found the car in about four feet of water,” Thibodeau said. “The water was up to the tires and the car was upside down.”

The officer plunged into the river and broke a window in an attempt to find and rescue anyone trapped inside.

“He looked inside where the driver might be,” Thibodeau said adding, the water was murky and it the nighttime conditions made it difficult to see anything.

The officer was unable to locate anyone and was forced out of the water because of the cold.

It was only when the vehicle was pulled out of the river that the woman was found. Thibodeau said she was in the backseat.

“Either she was not buckled in, or she tried to unbuckle herself,” he said.”It would explain why she was in the back.”

The woman was rushed to hospital where she later died.

READ MORE: Cars break through ice in Saint Lawrence River near Montreal

“In spite of our best efforts to revive her, her death was pronounced in hospital,” Thibodeau said.

The officer involved in the search-and-rescue operation was treated at the scene to prevent the onset of hypothermia.

The circumstances leading up to the crash are still unknown.

Investigators will be looking into whether she may have suffered a medical issue, fallen asleep, or have been intoxicated.

Thibodeau said at this point in the investigation, no hypothesis is being left out.

An autopsy will be performed to confirm the cause of death.

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