A search and rescue operation is underway for a teenage boy believed to have been swept away in the Rangitikei River.

Police were notified on Sunday night at about 6pm that the boy was missing, a police spokeswoman said.

He was understood to have last been seen around 45 minutes earlier, near the bridge where State Highway 1 crosses the river south of Bulls.

"Police are out searching along with members of his family, and the rescue helicopter has also been assisting," she said.


A local jet boat was also searching on the river.

A reporter at the scene on Monday morning said carloads of family and friends had turned up to join in the search.

The river was running quite high towards the sea at Tangimoana and there was a lot of debris from recent rain.