Richmond RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre, above, said the man was enraged, pounding on windows and throwing chairs and computer equipment, and refused to calm down. ((CBC))

A man in his 40s died early Sunday morning after RCMP jolted him with a Taser at the Vancouver International Airport, police said.

Airport security called the Mounties for assistance after an unidentified man began pounding on windows and throwing chairs and computer equipment in the customs area shortly after arriving on an international flight at 1:30 a.m., Richmond RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre told CBC News.

"We arrived and tried to calm the man," Lemaitre said. "We tried through gestures to get him to put his hands down on the desk … to no avail."

When he ignored orders to calm down, police used a stun gun on the man.

The man dropped to the floor and police said it took three officers to handcuff him. He then lost consciousness and appeared to go into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at the airport, the CBC's Chris Brown reported.

Few other details have been disclosed other than the man spoke an Eastern European language and a flight from Poland touched down about an hour before the incident, Brown said.

Taser devices are controversial because of the dozen North American deaths resulting from their use. There has been debate about how safe these devices are when dealing with certain kinds of people who are delirious or wound up, Brown said.

Police are investigating and a toxicology report will be done to determine whether there were drugs in the man's system. They will be interviewing customs officers and flight attendants, Brown reported.

International arrivals were rerouted but there were no delays in flight schedules.

With files from the Canadian Press