A man - who police had been trying to locate because of fears for his safety - has been killed after crashing into a truck while fleeing officers in Hawke's Bay.

Police had been trying to find the man most of Thursday after concerns were raised about his welfare.

Police located his vehicle on State Highway 5 at Eskdale at 9.40pm last night, and signalled for him to stop.

He did not and a pursuit was initiated.

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"After a short period of time, the vehicle crossed the centre line and collided with an oncoming truck," said Hawke's Bay Acting Area Commander Inspector Jeanette Park.

"The driver of that vehicle — a silver Mitsubishi stationwagon — died at the scene."

The roadside scene of the crash. Photo / Paul Taylor
The roadside scene of the crash. Photo / Paul Taylor

Park said the man's next-of-kin had been notified.

"On behalf of police, I would like to extend sympathies and sincere condolences to his family and friends," she said.

"An outcome like this is the last thing anyone wants to see.

"Police conduct a constant risk assessment during events of this nature, which are inherently fast-moving and unpredictable.

"The circumstances surrounding the pursuit and the crash are being investigated so I am unable to release further details, but I can assure you this event will be investigated thoroughly, both by Police and by the Independent Police Conduct Authority."

A woman, who did not wish to be named, was one of the first on the scene, soon after the crash.

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She and her partner live across the paddock and heard police sirens before a "loud crash".

"It was the loudest bang I ever heard. We realised an accident had happened," she said.

"By the time we came across, we saw the truck and three trucks backed behind."

She said they came to the scene to offer help as they are both qualified to provide first aid.

"We just wanted to see if he was alright and if we could help."

Park said police will release the name of the driver as soon as possible.

The truck driver was not injured.

WHERE TO GET HELP:

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:

0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
https://www.lifeline.org.nz/services/suicide-crisis-helpline
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202