Two tourists are lucky to be alive after becoming stranded on a rocky island at the top of the South Island.
The man and woman, in their 20s and visiting from Europe, are thought to have been swimming off Wharariki Beach and got caught in a rip, unable to get themselves back to shore.
They became stranded on a small rocky island about 200 metres away from the beach, and people on the beach spotted the pair and alerted emergency services.
A spokesman for The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter said they were notified about the distressed pair at around 6pm on Wednesday.
It is unknown exactly how long the couple were stranded for but it is believed they got into the water at around 2pm, he says.
"They are lucky they didn't die," the spokesman added.
The onboard Intensive Care Paramedic was winched down to retrieve the duo, who were then returned to the beach and assessed by police.
The pair were not injured but were rather embarrassed about the whole ordeal, he says.
Police say the rescue helicopter was called in because of the hightide restricting access to the pair.