VICTORIA -- A man was arrested on outstanding warrants after he was pulled from Victoria's Inner Harbour where he spent up to three hours in the water Wednesday evening.

Victoria police say a witness reported a man in distress in the cold water at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Police, firefighters, coast guard personnel and paramedics responded immediately, including a Saanich dive team which scoured the waters south of the Johnson Street Bridge.

At 7:20 p.m., the man suddenly surfaced and was pulled ashore by police.

“He is alive, remarkably so,” said Const. Cam MacIntyre in an interview Thursday morning.

Police believe the man went into the water with a large backpack on, which “caused distress,” MacIntyre said.

Officers are reviewing surveillance video of the area and say the man may have swum under a dock and hid there for hours while searchers combed the area.

"As the investigation continued, officers learned the man had a series of outstanding warrants for his arrest," Victoria police said in a statement Thursday. "Officers now believe the man remained under the decking of a floating dock for the duration of the search, and he may have been attempting to avoid police detection due to a number of outstanding warrants."

The man was treated for cold exposure and taken to hospital. Once medically cleared, police transported him to city cells where he was awaiting a court appearance Thursday morning.

The man’s outstanding warrants are for offences that include assault, forcible entry, assaulting a police officer causing bodily harm, and uttering threats, according to Victoria police.