Frantic efforts by lifeguards and bystanders failed to revive an elderly man who was caught in a rip at Papamoa Beach south of Mt Maunganui yesterday.

The 76-year-old Wellington man was swimming about 3.30pm yesterday when people on the beach noticed himk in trouble in a rip.

Acting Sergeant Dean Wooller from the Papamoa beach police, said lifeguards noticed the commotion on the beach and went to help.

"The flags weren't out and there were no patrols on the beach. He was away from the surf club.

"Three or four bystanders went to his aid and brought him to the beach where they conducted CPR. They were joined by members of the surf club who were packing up and they continued CPR until the ambulance arrived."

The man's name was expected to be released later today.

- NZPA