NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — A rescue attempt in the rushing water near Niagara Falls was successful, with New York State Park Police saying that a 59-year-old man was brought to shore after clinging to a branch above the American Falls for nearly two hours.
The person in the water was taken to the hospital, where he is in stable condition in the intensive care unit. It’s believed he is from the Niagara Falls area.
Park Police said they were notified of someone in the water around 11:45 on Wednesday. An onlooker who noticed someone in the water and called 911 said he was on a tour of the area.
The rescue attempt was between Goat Island and Prospect Point. Park Police said that is a treacherous spot and initially, two rescuers made their way out into the water, only to be turned back by the man, who apparently fought with them and broke free.
From there, Maj. Clyde Doty with New York State Park Police made his way toward the man.
“As we were heading toward that spot, we heard the crowd give a gasp, kind of stepped it up a little bit,” said Doty.
Doty said the man had a lifejacket on, wearing jeans and thermals underneath. Doty said the man’s body was rigid, that hypothermia had clearly set in, and that he couldn’t help in any way.
“I kept telling him he’s a strong man. For anybody to stay in the water that long, that’s a strong person,” Doty said. “I just kept reassuring him how strong he was, and we were going to get help for him.”
The rescue was completed after 1:30 p.m., and onlookers let up a small cheer of relief.
New York State Police, Niagara Falls city firefighters, and border patrol agents also responded.