A woman dramatically escaped out the window as her car sank into the harbour in the Bay of Islands.

Weekend Herald editor Miriyana Alexander saw the incident unfold around 8pm at the boat ramp in Russell.

She said a woman reversed quickly into the water before screaming and diving out the window.

Her car sank until it was completely submerged. Some of Alexander's friends rushed down to see if the woman, who was shaken and in shock, was OK and gave her blankets.

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"She was very lucky she got out immediately. It happened very quickly."

Alexander said it appeared the woman had been confused and thought she was in drive when she was in reverse.

A buoy has been attached to the car to locate it.

Fire Service northern shift manager Paul Raddem said it looked like the car had gone off the boat ramp.

As no people were trapped or injured both Police and Fire had left the scene and a tow company was being organised to get the vehicle out of the water.