A body has been found during the search for a man missing in the Tairua River.

The search had started last night when a car was found submerged off Hikuai School Rd, west of the Coromandel Forest Park.

Waikato police Senior Sergeant Simon Cherry had said the 72-year-old was reported missing at 5.30pm yesterday after leaving a friend's house.

His car was found empty about half an hour later.

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Cherry said the man's body was spotted this morning after floodwaters receded down to about waist height overnight.

He was found underneath his vehicle, he said.

A search was carried out along the banks of the river but was suspended due to darkness.