A man who died when his van smashed into a Canterbury bridge and sank in irrigation water has been named.

The body of 42-year-old Shane William Forsyth, of Westport, was found inside a brown van submerged in water in an irrigation race around 8am on Saturday.

He died after the van he was travelling in left Arundel Rakaia Gorge Rd, near Mt Somers in Mid Canterbury, and crashed into the Rangitata Diversion Race.

The man was travelling south when his van crashed and became fully submerged.

Advertisement

Police said his body was located in the van.

Police said their thoughts are with Forsyth's family and friends at this time.

The circumstances surrounding the crash continue to be investigated by the Police Serious Crash Unit, and the death will be referred to the Coroner.