More details have emerged about a boating tragedy on the Waikato River that left one man dead and his three mates clinging to trees after their runabout capsized on Sunday.

The four men headed out duck shooting on Saturday and spent the night on Ngahinapouri Island in Port Waikato. On Sunday bad weather forced them to stay on island but when there was a break in the storm they decided to try and cross back to Hoods Landing where they had launched their boat.

On the way back to the boat ramp the boat has been overcome with water and capsized.

The men were thrown into the water and began drifting towards the coast.

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A police spokeswoman said other duck shooters were been navigating around the island at the time and saw three men clinging to trees.

"The body of the deceased was located partially submerged in the water further up the river," she said.

"With the assistance of the Westpac Helicopter, Coastguard and local duck shooters the three males were taken back to Hoods Landing and the deceased's body was recovered."

The survivors were taken to Middlemore Hospital for treatment and were discharged soon after. Police are expected to release the name of the dead man tomorrow.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.