The body pulled from a car that crashed into the Buller River was that of a 40-year-old man originally from Marlborough.

A search for the car's occupants had been under way since it was spotted going into the water just before 5pm on Saturday on the Lower Buller Gorge Rd.

The search ended after the man was pulled from it on Sunday evening.

Police West Coast Area Commander Mel Aitkin said the man, who was believed to be the driver, had been living on the West Coast in more recent times.

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Aside from a dog found earlier wandering the road, police said there were no other occupants inside the car.

Aitkin thanked members of the public for notifying them of the initial crash and the Westport SAR volunteers who assisted at the scene.

She said the dog, with consent of the family will be re-homed in due course.

"Buller District Council animal control are looking after the dog in the interim."

The man's name will be released once police have informed the next of kin.