TVNZ has apologised after last night's Shortland Street cliffhanger featuring a deadly plane crash aired - within hours of a real life double-fatal aviation tragedy.

The episode, which ran on Monday night, was the last for the year and concluded with one character dying following the crash.

Earlier yesterday, two bodies were retrieved from a "mangled wreck" after a light aircraft crashed into mudflats at Raglan about 3.20pm.

A spokesperson from TVNZ apologised to any viewers who might have found last night's episode disturbing following the Raglan crash.

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"We apologise to any viewers who found this episode upsetting and our condolences are with the victims' family and friends," the spokesperson said.

"This episode was filmed some weeks ago, but unfortunately its broadcast coincided with a real-world tragedy."

A light aircraft lies crashed on the mudflats at Raglan. Photo / Belinda Feek
A light aircraft lies crashed on the mudflats at Raglan. Photo / Belinda Feek

Emergency services were called to the crash in Raglan shortly after 3.20pm.

The aircraft crashed onto mudflats in the Kaitoke Harbour, locals nearby likening the sound of the incident to a car crash.

The bodies of the plane's two occupants were retrieved by emergency services just before 6pm last night and the scene was being examined.

The aircraft crashed during low-tide and has since been surrounded by water and would be left in the water overnight.

In last night's episode, Shortland Street character Chris Warner decided to charter a private plane to take him and his colleagues to his family lodge for the holidays.

However, the plane crashed after the pilot suffered a heart attack. The fates of injured father and son Mo and Jack Hannah were left hanging.

Shortland Street will return to TVNZ 2 on January 14.

Last week TVNZ delayed a new murder series due to apparent similarities to the recent killing of British backpacker Grace Millane.

After the plane crash in a scene from the Shortland Street end of season finale.
After the plane crash in a scene from the Shortland Street end of season finale.

Millane's body was found in the Waitakere Ranges last Sunday. The 21-year-old arrived in New Zealand just days before her disappearance on December 1.

The show, Find My Killer, follows the disappearance and slaying of 17-year old Mia Bryant and the use of social media in solving the case.

TVNZ said it had decided to postpone the broadcast.

"The decision was made in light of recent events and we intend to air the programme at a later date which will be determined next year, but we don't wish to elaborate further at this stage," a spokesperson said last week.