New York State Park Police say a man was pulled from the frigid waters of the Niagara River alive on Thursday afternoon.
Police Major Clyde Doty said a 911 call was received just before noon about a man in the river off of Luna Island.
Upon arrival, Doty and first responders found the man clinging to a log near the Falls.
WATCH: Man rescued from Niagara River. Erica Vella reports.
Doty — who went into the water and grabbed hold of the man during the rescue — said the man was conscious but not alert.
“He just had that stare. I mean, clearly hypothermia had set in,” said Doty.
“Once I did get a hold of him I was trying to hold his head up but his arms… his body was so rigid he couldn’t move in any way.”
Doty said the man was wearing a life jacket, jeans and thermal underwear.
Niagara Falls Fire Chief Joe Pedulla said the rescue was difficult due to the depth of the water and the strength of the rapids.
“We immediately notified the Niagara Power Authority to lower the water levels, which they did — it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to lower the levels of the water — before we went in,” said Pedulla.
Pedulla said it took firefighters two attempts to rescue the man, as a rescue collar came off in the first attempt and he slipped down the river before being retrieved by Doty.
The chief estimated the water temperature to have been somewhere around zero degrees Celsius.
Pedulla said the man was in the water for at least two hours. He was rescued around 1:30 p.m.
Police say it’s unclear how the man got into the water or why.
The man was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. The extent of his injuries are unknown.
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