Body found in search for Haruru Falls woman

A body has been found this morning in the search for the Northland woman swept away by flood waters.

A police spokesman said the body was found downstream from where the woman was caught in Waitangi River flood waters near Haruru Falls about 6am yesterday.

Police were yet to identify the body.

The 28-year-old woman was believed to have been swept away while trying to get from her partially submerged vehicle back to a nearby house, where the occupants had been partying most of the night.

Far North emergency services scrambled to search for the woman, with about 20 searchers combing the banks, with more land exposed than yesterday because the river levels had dropped.

Earlier, Far North land search and rescue president Kerry Sinclair told Radio New Zealand despite the falling water levels and fine weather, the search conditions were difficult.

"The fact that we're looking through very heavily silted debris and boggy areas, it's not pleasant, it's not easy walking - there's a lot of blackberry and gorse along the river as well."

Several people were caught in vehicles by flood waters and many residents also needed to be rescued from flooded houses.

A local welfare centre was set up for affected residents at the Bledisloe Hall in Haruru, police said.

An Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesman said their crew were called to rescue a number of people who had been at a party in Pahia early yesterday morning before getting swept into the river.

A crewman who attended the rescue said they were stood down around midday after rescuing a man and a dog off a roof.

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