A person has died after slipping into a water hole in a Bay of Plenty river this afternoon, police say.

A large-scale search was launched after reports of a person in trouble in the Wainui River in Whakamarama, southwest of Tauranga.

A police spokeswoman said a body was recovered about 4pm.

"Emergency services were notified at 1.35pm that a person had slipped into a water hole while walking down to the river with two friends.

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"An intensive search effort has been underway this afternoon but unfortunately the person was found deceased in the water."

A rescue helicopter was dispatched to assist with the search. Ambulance, police and locals also helped.

The Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter was tasked with winching the body from the river. Photo/Andrew Warner
The Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter was tasked with winching the body from the river. Photo/Andrew Warner

Bay of Plenty Times reporter Allison Hess, at the scene, said emergency services had set up a cordon at the end of Tim Rd in Whakamarama.

"There are several police cars and a local woman telling cars that come up the road to turn around and go back."

You could not see the river from the cordon.

Police helping with the search for a person missing in Wainui River, off Tim Rd, near Whakamarama. Photo/Andrew Warner
Police helping with the search for a person missing in Wainui River, off Tim Rd, near Whakamarama. Photo/Andrew Warner

"It's very rural. There's farms and paddocks and fences and that sort of thing and it's a single-lane road. It's pretty isolated."

Police said they would not be releasing any more information today.

A person has died after getting into trouble in the river near Tim Road, Whakamarama. Photo/Andrew Warner
A person has died after getting into trouble in the river near Tim Road, Whakamarama. Photo/Andrew Warner