A 21-year-old Hamilton man is missing after a friend lost sight of him in the Waikato River early this morning.

Hazael Mailata and his friend were on the bank of Waikato River when Mailata went for a swim shortly before 3am.

He was last seen in the darkness in the river and there has been no contact with family or friends since.

Police have searched the banks of the Waikato River from the time he was reported missing and will continue to search the river today.

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Police are making ongoing inquiries with friends and family in the event that Mailata contacts them.

The Police National Dive Squad will be searching the river this evening.