An exchange student from Japan is thought to be dead after being swept over Niagara Falls on Sunday night, authorities have reported.

The woman, who was in her in her 20s and studying in Toronto, climbed on to a pillar located on the Canadian side of the falls and slipped over, police said, describing the accident as tragic.

She then fell into the Niagara River about 80ft (24m) up from the edge of the falls and was swept over, the BBC reported.

The woman's body has not yet been recovered and officials said they were working with the Japanese consulate to notify her family.

"The public is reminded that climbing over this wall is clearly dangerous and is prohibited by the Niagara Parks Act and its regulations," Niagara Parks Police Chief Doug Kane warned.

"Millions of visitors have viewed the scenic Niagara falls and the Niagara River gorge while respecting the safety wall without incident."

The accident, which occurred about 20:30 local time (00:30 GMT) on Sunday was captured on CCTV and according to a report from the BBC the woman, who was accompanied by a friend, took some photographs and then climbed on to a pillar holding an umbrella before standing up for a clearer view.

Unfortunately, she quickly lost her footing and fell down the river police said.