Members of the public desperately tried to revive an elderly man after his mobility scooter veered into a Bay of Plenty river this morning.

Emergency services were called to the incident near the bridge over the Whakatane River, off Landing Rd, about 9.50am.

Landing Rd resident Ivana Singh was alerted when someone desperately banged on her window and yelled to call for an ambulance.

"They said there was a man who had fallen into the river and he's not breathing. I asked my husband to call 111 and I ran to the river.

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"When I got there two gentlemen had already dragged him out of the water and they were doing CPR. I'm not sure how long he had been in the water."

The man's mobility scooter was just visible beneath the water line.

"He wasn't responding to any of the attempts. Somebody came with an emergency kit and tried to put a breathing mask on him but he wasn't responding to that either."

Paramedics arrived and worked on him for over an hour but they pronounced him dead at the scene.

Singh spoke to a witness who said he saw the man driving the mobility scooter on the walkway beside the river when he somehow veered down a bank near the bridge and into the water.

Police said they were in the process of notifying next of kin and establishing the circumstances of the death.

The matter will be referred to the coroner.