Police believe the man who slipped into the night after a pursuit near Greymouth is out of the water, and on the run.
The man fled into an estuary, and the called out for help in the early hours of yesterday.
Divers are back searching today, but police think the man has made it out of the water, and is back on his feet.
West Coast Area Commander Inspector John Canning says if the man was still in the water, they'd expect family members would've gathered, but there's been no sign, and no one's been reported missing.
Mr Canning says they're confident they know who the man is.
Photo: NZ Herald