Man Rescued in Niagara Falls near waterfall edge

AUDIO: Rescuer talks with WBEN's Tom Bauerle

WBEN Newsroom
November 07, 2019 - 2:27 pm

Photo Courtesy of WIVB

November 8 Update: Niagara Falls Parks Police identified the man as a 59-year-old from Niagara Falls. They did not release his name. He is currently in stable condition.

NIAGARA FALLS (WBEN) - Emergency officials in Niagara Falls rescued a man near the edge of American Falls in a dramatic scene that unfolded on Thursday.

Niagara Falls Parks Police were first notified about a man in the water before noon and immediately began rescue operations after the man was clung to a rock between Goat Island and Bird Island. The man was in the water for more than two hours until his rescue around 2 p.m.

At the start of the rescue two firefighters, who were teathered to shore, tried to drag the man through the rapids and onto land but he fought with a floatation collar that was around his neck. This led to a dramatic scene where the man broke away from the collar, only to be rescued even further downstream by Niagara Falls Parks Police Major Clyde Doty.

Niagara Falls Fire Chief Joe Pedulla did not say whether this was a suicide attempt by the man.

"If he wasn't there, I don't know what would have happened to the guy," Pedulla said. "He did a fantastic job."

Doty described conversations with the man as "babbling".

"I secured him but I couldn't move after that," Doty said. "All I could do was to keep his head above water and wait for help. When the firemen came in, I told them 'No matter what happens when we move, just work to keep his head above water'."

Doty reassured the man multiple times that he was a strong person.

Rescuers were amazed that he man survived after being in 51 degree waters for as long as he was in there.

"His will to stay alive is what kept him alive today," Pedulla said.

Authorities don't know how the man got into the water. None of the rescuers were injured.

Officials said the man was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. His condition is currently unknown. Doty said it was clear the man had hypothermia.

AUDIO

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