The body of the 20-year-old man who went missing in the Whanganui River has been found by the police dive squad.

He was swimming with two friends in a part of the river near the airport when he began struggling. The two friends made it out.

A police officer at the scene said the body was found between Corliss Island and Languard Rd about midday today.

The officer said the body was found pretty quickly after the dive squad began searching.

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The police dive squad has now left the scene. The death will be referred to the Coroner.

The parents and two siblings of the man were watching on the shore of the Whanganui River early this morning looking for their family member.

They were visibly distraught.

The family of the 20-year-old man were waiting at the shore of the Whanganui River.
The family of the 20-year-old man were waiting at the shore of the Whanganui River.

A rāhui has been placed on the Whanganui River where the 20-year-old Filipino man went missing on Wednesday evening. It is understood the rāhui will be in place until 7am tommorrow.

The rāhui restricts access to the area of the river from the Whanganui City Bridge to the river mouth as is a mark of respect for a person missing in the river.

A police spokeswoman said emergency services were first notified about a man struggling in the river shortly after 7pm near Whanganui Airport.

Emergency services suspended their search last evening.

Coastguard, surf lifesavers and a Westpac rescue helicopter assisted police in the search but were stood down for the night.