One man is dead and six Vancouver police officers were taken to hospital following an altercation that involved the use of "chemical agents" in an attempt to subdue him.

According to Vancouver police, the officers were called to the 3600 block of South East Marine Dr. to respond to a distraught man causing a disturbance.

"As the first officer on the scene attempted to detain him, he became agitated and additional officers were called to the scene," the police said in a statement.

"Attempts to subdue the man with chemical agents were unsuccessful. A physical altercation ensued, resulting in injuries to the man and six officers."

Police say paramedics were called, but the man died at the scene.

Two officers were taken to hospital with significant injuries and four officers were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

All the officers have been released from hospital.

B.C.'s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, has taken over the investigation. 

"This is very early days and we're trying to piece together what happened," said IIO spokesman John Larkin.