Woman, 70, dies after being swept out to sea

Large wave breaking at Greenly Beach, Southern Ocean, Eyre Peninsula. South Australia.

A 70-year-old woman has been swept out to sea near Karamea after being swamped by a large wave.

Police say the incident happened around 3:30pm on Sunday near the mouth of the Kohaihai River in the top of the South Island, when the woman was walking along the water's edge.

An effort by her partner to save her was unsuccessful and a search and rescue operation involving police, helicopters and recreational boats was put in place.

Her body was found several kilometres north around two hours later.

Police say the conditions at the time were fine and clear, with a large swell coming onto shore.

The woman's body was spotted in the water by staff with the NZCC Rescue Helicopter and recovered by searchers in an inflatable rescue boat near the beginning of the Heaphy Track.

A coroner will investigate the woman's death.