Police have confirmed they have located the wreck of fishing boat FV Jubilee, which went missing off the Canterbury coast last weekend.
Navy divers and police used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to inspect the vessel on the seabed.
They saw what they believed to the body of one of the three missing crewmen on board.
Police and Navy divers and accident investigators will continue their search for the next two days.
"Police are in close contact with the next-of-kin of all the crew who were understood to have been on the FV Jubilee at the time of the incident," says Sergeant Phil Simmonds. "The person seen on the ROV footage has not yet been recovered or identified and police will not speculate on which of the three crew it may be."
Sgt Simmonds says the safety of those involved in the recovery phase is paramount.
"As the wreck of the FV Jubilee is located in 40 metres of water, it will be necessary for the Royal New Zealand Navy's Operational Diving Team to complete a number of build-up dives before attempting to enter the wreck of the FV Jubilee," Sgt Simmonds says.
Diving support ship HMNZS Manawanui will provide assistance in the next phase of the operation to locate and return the missing men to their families, police say.
The death has been referred to the coroner.
3 News / NZN