The body of the man found in a South Canterbury River has been identified.

On Tuesday, he was found in the Opihi Riverbed, near Fairlie, by a local police officer at around 10.30pm

Today, police identified him as 45-year-old Michael Andrew Phillips, a local from the area.

An examination of the riverbed was set to continue and police said inquiries into the circumstances around his death would continue over the weekend.

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"Police's focus is on gathering and piecing together all available information to be able to build an accurate picture of the circumstances that led to the death."