The Buffalo Police Department Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team pulled two bodies from the Niagara River at the Foot of Ferry Monday afternoon. 

Crews pulled 29-year-old Mario Guthrie and 46-year-old Scott Vater, both of Buffalo, from the river.

In a news conference, police said the two men entered the water near a circular current of water.

Buffalo Police Dept. Captain Jeff Rinaldo said one of the men was trying to recover some driftwood and began to struggle, and the other man tried to help. 

An eyewitness told News 4, the one man told her he collected driftwood to make furniture. He was getting read to jump in to retrieve a piece floating in the river when another man offered to jump in for him.

“He jumped in and it was clear he wasn’t a strong swimmer,” said witness, Christina Williams.

Williams says the man in the water had a rope tied to his wrist while the other man held the other end at shore. At one point the short rope wasn’t enough so the man released it so he could grab the driftwood. The other man, at shore, jumped in to save him, but witnesses say they struggled to stay above water.

“It was only a couple of seconds before they both just sunk like rocks. There was nothing we could’ve done, I mean my mom was screaming at me not to jump in, I almost went in, I mean they would’ve sunk me like a stone,” said Williams.

Within minutes Williams says the Buffalo Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team were on the scene. Crews searched a little over an hour after the two men went under.

The recovery comes less than a year after Buffalo Police Lt. Craig Lehner died in a training accident in the same spot of the Niagara River.

Captain Jeff Rinaldo with Buffalo Police told reporters during a news conference Monday that swift water is very dangerous, unsupervised and even experienced divers such as Lt. Lehner can die in these conditions.

“There’s different currents that flow especially when you get into eddy currents that will pull you towards the wall and then suck you out into the river as well as pull you down, it’s not safe under any type of circumstance,” said Capt. Rinaldo.

Rinaldo stressed the importance of not jumping in after anyone in dangerous waters. He says to try to find a stick for them to grab onto and call for help.

Officials say the first instinct in swift water is to try to drown the person helping you, but the chance of both surviving are slim.