The death of a man found in Mount Ruapehu's Crater Lake has been referred to the Coroner.

On Friday night, a 39-year-old Taupo resident was reported missing to police.

The man had left his home the day before to go skiing at the Mount's Whakapapa skifield.

Initial inquiries confirmed the man's car was in the skifield carpark but he could not be located.

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Due to bad weather, no searches of the mountain were able to be conducted that night.

At first light this morning, ground teams and helicopters were used to carry out a search of the mountain.

After a short search the man was located deceased in the Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake.

Initial indications are that he accidentally fell into the lake.

His family had joined the search earlier today and have been advised of his death by police.

Senior Sergeant Grant Alabaste said it was "an absolute tragedy" for the man's family.

"He was located at an area where many people go to get views of the lake."

Alabaste added that he was thankful they were able to locate him in a relatively short period of time to enable us to get him back to his family.

The matter has been referred to the Coroner.