Two people have died after a helicopter crashed in north Canterbury on Tuesday afternoon.
Three others are seriously injured and have been airlifted to Wellington Hospital.
Children were believed to have been on board the helicopter that came down on a rocky beach near the Kekerengu Rivermouth.
Emergency services, including three choppers, responded to the crash about 60km north of Kaikōura.
A spokesperson for police said two people had died and another three people have been seriously injured and are being airlifted to a hospital.
They had earlier said there were six people on board the helicopter at the time of the crash, however this was incorrect - there were only five people on board.
"Further details regarding the deceased and injured, including ages and genders, will not be released until all necessary family notifications have been carried out," the spokesperson said.
"The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) have been advised."
Witnesses described seeing it spinning as it fell from the sky.
"I just saw it go down, went down, there were no explosions or what not but it just happened, out of the blue," a resident told Newshub.
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Emergency services were notified of the crash at 12:40pm on Tuesday and rushed to the scene.
St John told Newshub three helicopters attended, including one from Wellington, one from Nelson and one from Christchurch. A doctor, intensive care paramedic and ambulance were also at the scene.
"We just watched it go round and round and round… It's scary. You're just so helpless. You can't do anything," Coastal Lodge owner Lyn Mehrtens told the outlet.
Locals reportedly rushed to the scene to help those inside the wreckage.