A man was pulled out alive from the frigid waters of Niagara Falls after plunging almost 60 metres on Wednesday.

Niagara Parks Police Chief Doug Kane said the man "voluntarily entered into the water and refused medical assistance at the bottom."

He said the man has severe hypothermia and a large wound to his head. Police said the force of the water ripped off his clothes.

A helicopter was used to create a current that took him to near the shore. Rescue workers in a boat then plucked him from the water.

A witness called police shortly after 2 p.m. and said a man had jumped into the Horseshoe Falls, one of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls. A short time later, the man was seen near the base of the falls.

"He wasn't co-operative," pilot Ruedi Hafen, owner of Niagara Falls Helicopter, told the Associated Press. "He didn't try to be helpful. We had a sling on him, and he got out of it."

Hafen said the man, who had a "big gashing injury" on his head, was in the water for about 45 minutes and spent much of that time resisting attempts to help him.

With files from the Associated Press