A witness who saw a light plane crash into Lake Taupo this afternoon says it's remarkable that no one was killed.

Rowan Eves was at his holiday home in Waitahanui, south of Taupo, when he heard the sound of a plane, followed by a loud bang, which rang through the air.

"It sounded like an engine blowing up," he said.

"It would've been no longer than 15 seconds between the bang and when the skydivers started jumping out of the plane."


MORE: Skydivers bailed from plane as it nose-dived into Lake Taupo

Thirteen people were on board the light aircraft, which crashed into Lake Taupo shortly after midday. All of them, including the pilot, were able to parachute out of the plane and escaped serious injury.

Mr Eves said the pilot was the last to jump out of the plane, at about 1000ft, moments before it nose-dived straight into the lake.

Mr Eves and his family called emergency services before immediately taking his boat out to the site where the plane crashed to see if anyone was trapped in the wreckage.

He dived into the water but couldn't see much, though he did see the plane which was "pretty mangled".

After realising that no one appeared to be trapped in the wreckage, he took his boat to pick up the skydivers who landed on shore nearby and took them to the main beach where people and emergency services had gathered.

"One of them was pretty shaken."

Mr Eves said the pilot had also landed nearby but in blackberry bushes.


He said it was remarkable how quickly they were able to jump out of the plane.

"It was pretty amazing that they could get out, it's amazing that they're safe."

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Mike Richards also said it was miraculous no one was killed.

Mr Richards said more details would be released later as it was still "really, really early days" but a safety investigation team was already reviewing the incident.