Three rescued from sinking boat off Christchurch beach

Three people are in hospital after being rescued from a sinking boat off the coast of Christchurch.

Emergency services were notified of a boat in distress off Waimairi Beach, in the northeast of the city, shortly after 11pm on Saturday night.

The boat grounded and started taking on water. Two were rescued from the boat and a third from the water.

Westpac helicopter crew chief Rick Knight says they were in an inaccessible spot and were distressed.

"It was too sandy for the helicopter to land... one of our paramedics actually swam out and assisted each person to the shore itself."

Photographs of the boat taken on Sunday morning sent into Newshub show it sitting on the beach after the tide went out. 

Two of the people rescued are in a serious condition.