The LAFD Swift Water Rescue team battles raging waters in the LA River as they attempt to rescue a man trapped by rising waters on Monday, Dec. 24, 2012.
The LAFD Swift Water Rescue team battles raging waters in the LA River as they attempt to rescue a man trapped by rising waters on Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. The rescue was at the Victory Boulevard bridge over the LA River, where Los Angeles and Glendale meet. The man was transported to a Glendale hospital with severe hypothermia. (Mike Meadows/Special to the Daily News)

GLENDALE - A man clinged to a clump of bushes in the rain-swollen Los Angeles River for hours and was safely rescued by firefighters today.

"The water was moving swiftly down the river. It was very cold and deep," Glendale Fire Department's Brandy Villanueva told City News Service.

"He had been on solid ground in the channel at some point, but that ground became an island, then disappeared because of heavy rain flooding in the riverbed," Villanueva said.

Glendale firefighters received the call at about 5 a.m. and were assisted by fire units from Los Angeles and Alhambra, including swift water rescue personnel, Villanueva said.

Firefighters stretched catcher devices below bridges next to Griffith Park at Victory, Colorado and Los Feliz boulevards, then launched an inflatable boat shortly after 7 a.m., according to Villanueva.

Firefighters aboard the craft plucked the man to safety minutes later, she said.

"They deployed a ladder over the water to act as a pulley device to safely guide the boat back to the east bank of the river," Villanueva said.

Video of the rescue showed the man being pulled from the raging river and showed a man described as a middle-aged transient who may have been camping in the woods and brush that grow beneath concrete banks near Glendale.