Two men from India drowned and a third was rescued in the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ont., in what police allege was a human smuggling attempt.

The drownings happened Wednesday morning in the river's Canadian waters, near the east end of Cornwall Island in Akwesasne Mohawk territory.

Investigators believe three men from India were trying to get into the United States with a Quebec man aboard a personal watercraft when it capsized.

The names of the deceased are being withheld by CBC News while police identify next of kin.

The third man from India was rescued from the river by bystanders and is now facing charges, Akwesasne Mohawk police said in a media release issued Friday.

Canada Border Sevices Agency

The Canada Border Services Agency, RCMP and Akwesasne Mohawk Police are investigating the deaths of two men from India police allege were trying to enter the U.S. through Canada illegally earlier this week. (CBC)

"This was a pretty tragic incident and a sad incident at that location," said Jaime Ruiz, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is investigating the incident alongside RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency and Akwesasne Mohawk police.

Quebec man charged

The man driving the watercraft was Louie John McDonald, 36, from Snye, Que., according to Akwesasne Mohawk police.

McDonald has been charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing death, one count of failing to comply with a probation order and one count of conspiring to bring an alien into the United States, according to court documents filed in Cornwall, Ont.

The rescued man, Mayur Girishkimar Patel, 20, from India has been charged with three counts of misrepresentation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, according to court documents.

The Canada Border Services Agency alleges that on July 27, in Bangalore, India, Patel applied for and received a study visa to Canada by submitting "misleading supporting financial documents" that said he had $10,000 in Canadian currency.

Patel then flew to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal where, the agency alleges, Patel applied for a student permit on Aug. 28 using the same misleading documents. He then sought entry into Canada as a visitor that same day, the agency alleges, and was issued a study permit valid until Aug. 31, 2017.

The agency alleges Patel "was entering Canada for the purpose of gaining illegal entry into the United States of America," the court documents show.

The RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency did not immediately return requests for comment Friday evening.