Police searching for Rachel Stokes urgently want to speak to a woman called Cheryl who said she had spotted the missing Wakefield woman.

Stokes' car was found crashed on State Highway 6 near Kawatiri Junction on Friday morning, prompting a major ground and air search. Water teams are also searching the Buller River this morning.

Police said in a statement that they were contacted yesterday by a woman called Cheryl who said she had seen Stokes.

"Police hold serious concerns for her welfare and believe the information 'Cheryl' may be able to provide could assist in locating her."

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She was asked to contact Sergeant Mal York on 0211908245.

Stokes is European, aged 46.

Motorists travelling on SH6 south of Wakefield were urged to keep an eye out for her and to call 111.

Anyone else with information was asked to call Nelson Police on (03) 546 3840.

-NZH