The search for a man last heard from calling for help from a lagoon where he said he was stuck in the mud has been called off.
Greymouth police say he had led them on a chase which ended at 12.30 this morning when his car crashed in a car park near Cobden, from where he fled into an estuary of the Grey River to avoid police.
A constable waded into the water in heavy rain to save the man, believed to be aged under 30.
The constable could see the man's head bobbing in the water, and asked him to take off items of clothing and his shoes to try to float, but the man's head disappeared from view.
Items of clothing have been found.
Police say it is possible the man had reached the shore, just five metres away.
Police are still trying to find out the identity of the man .
He is not the registered owner of the vehicle, which had been parked outside a party venue in Cobden with the keys in it.
Photo: NZ Herald