A car with failed brakes plunged off an opened lift bridge and into a river, killing two women, authorities said.

The center section of the bridge deck was raised to let boats pass underneath when the car, in the wrong lane, went over the edge Sunday and fell about 15 feet into the St. Croix River, Assistant Fire Chief Tom Crotty said.

A woman who survived told authorities the brakes had failed.

Rescuers recovered the two bodies, and the third woman was rescued by a boater, authorities said.

The St. Croix separates Minnesota and Wisconsin. The car, traveling from the Wisconsin side, went past barricades with flashing lights and sped off the bridge around 4 p.m., authorities said.

Unlike drawbridges, which split bridge decks in two and raise both halves, lift bridges keep the bridge deck horizontal and raise it in one piece.