13 Sep 2016

Friends find missing 81-year-old's body in ute

7:35 pm on 13 September 2016

An elderly man's friends have found his body in a car down a bank, after he was missing for five days.

The 81-year-old was travelling on Okare Road, the same road he lived on, when his car rolled.

Ohuka is inland from Wairoa in Hawke's Bay.

Police said the last time anyone saw him was on Wednesday last week, when he was seen leaving a supermarket in Ohuka.

Friends reported him missing and, with the police, spent days searching for him.

Senior Sergeant Tony Bates said farm workers, who had been out searching for the man, found him in his ute 15m down a bank at 7am this morning.

Mr Bates said his car had rolled down the bank and got caught in trees on Okare Road between Ruakituri and the road to Lake Waikaremoana.

He said the man's friends had lit a fire at his house for him on Wednesday night, anticipating he would come home; when that did not happen, they reported his disappearance to police who started searching for him.

Mr Bates said the cause of death was yet to be determined and the case has been referred to the coroner.