A man has died despite the efforts of a nurse and cabin crew on a Qantas plane bound for Melbourne yesterday morning.

Flight QF152 left Auckland at 6:10am but was forced to turn back 30 minutes later after the passenger had a heart attack.

A Qantas spokesman confirmed the man had died by the time the plane landed and paramedics met the craft.

He said a nurse and the cabin crew worked to resuscitate the man but were unable to.

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The spokesman couldn't confirm the man's age.

The plane, carrying 174 passengers, was delayed for about an hour and a half, as it was refuelled before taking off again for Melbourne.