Two men suffered broken bones when a small plane crashed into a paddock north of Christchurch this evening.

The plane went down at Burnt Hill, near the North Canterbury town of Oxford, about 5.45pm today, police southern communications Inspector Murray Hurst said.

The occupants of the plane, believed to be a Tomahawk, suffered a broken legs and a broken arm.

Their injuries were not life-threatening and both men were conscious after the crash, Mr Hurst said.

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"The pilot rang the ambulance service."

Both men were taken to hospital by rescue helicopter.

The cause of the accident was not yet known.

"I don't know whether he was coming in to land or whether he had engine trouble or what, so I guess that will all come out in the wash," Mr Hurst said.

The crash will be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.