Body found in search for missing woman Emma Beattie

Search and rescue teams have found a body on the banks of the Ashley River on Saturday afternoon.

"The body was discovered around 4pm while Canterbury police district was running a training exercise for search and rescue staff," says Rangiora police Senior Sergeant Paul Reeves.

Police had been using an annual training exercise in the area as a second search for missing Rangiora woman Emma Beattie.

Ms Beattie, 20, disappeared last December, but a first search failed to find her. Police believe there's no suspicious circumstance surrounding her disappearance.

Many of those involved in this training exercise were involved in the first search for Ms Beattie.

"A lot of people involved in this exercise are involved in that search," SAR coordinator Sergeant Phil Simmonds said earlier. 

"A lot of them feel like they have some unfinished business and are hoping to find her."

It's been a gruelling search through rugged terrain. Helicopters have scoured the ground from the air, while crews on foot traverse through waist-deep scrub along the Ashley River. 

"It's very difficult; it's up and down a lot," says David Williams from LANSAR South Canterbury.

"One minute you're on firm ground the next minute you're in a hole."

The search has involved more than 100 people, with teams brought in from all over Canterbury from as far as Fairlie and Waipara.

"It's a chance to come train different techniques and sort out how capable we are," Sgt Simmonds says.

A formal identification of the body will now be carried out. The death has been referred to the coroner.