Police have reached the site where a light plane has crashed near Gisborne and have confirmed two men are dead.

Police are in contact with the next of kin, Tairawhiti Area Commander Inspector Sam Aberahama said.

Work is under way to retrieve their bodies and to formally identify them.

The cause of the crash is yet to be established and will be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

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The fatal crash happened west of Tiniroto and caused a major power outage about 9am.

With the power off in Gisborne and surrounding areas, police want to reassure the public they are available to them 24/7.

"We have rostered extra staff on, will be conducting extra patrols, and are ready to visit people who have any concerns," Aberahama said.

"In addition to you being able to reach us immediately on 111, the Gisborne Central Police Station public counter will be open 24 hours a day until normal power supply resumes.

"Police will be visible in the city and suburban areas overnight and throughout the course of the power outage.

Emergency services at the scene of the plane crash near Hangaroa, west of Gisborne. Photo / Gisborne Herald
Emergency services at the scene of the plane crash near Hangaroa, west of Gisborne. Photo / Gisborne Herald

"We're here to make sure people are safe and feel safe.

"If police become aware of any crime being committed, those responsible will be held to account.

"We urge you to look after your family, friends, and any vulnerable people in the community."

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Residents in the district face a dark night ahead, and Tairawhiti Civil Defence controller Patrick Willock said power was unlikely to be restored until tomorrow night at the earliest.

Power to East Coast residents had been supplied by generators until 2pm this afternoon and will be restored for two hours over dinner time and then turned off again. An intermittent supply will be provided to the East Coast tomorrow.

"Before the evening, we ask people to check on their neighbours, especially if they are elderly," Willock said.

Emergency services at the scene of the plane crash near Hangaroa, west of Gisborne. Photo / Gisborne Herald
Emergency services at the scene of the plane crash near Hangaroa, west of Gisborne. Photo / Gisborne Herald

Civil Defence brought in 10 generators from Tauranga and will distribute them to fuel and food outlets, and elder care facilities on a priority basis later this afternoon.

Fuel is expected to be on line between 4pm and 6pm at Caltex Gisborne, Gladstone Road and BP Kaiti. These service stations also provide LPG.

Some food outlets are providing their own generators, for example KFC and McDonald's. Tairawhiti Civil Defence has organised for generators to be provided at Pizza Hut and Carl's Junior.

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Gisborne Airport has remained open throughout. A generator is in place and fuel is available for the helicopters needed to fix the line.

Parents are advised to contact their school to confirm their child's school is open tomorrow.

Wainui Beach School closed today due to a lack of water. Many Wainui residents rely on electricity to pump their water. While residents can bucket water out of their tank, Civil Defence will have a water tanker at Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club by 5pm today and again from 7am tomorrow.

Most Gisborne GPs have been unable to function today.

Meanwhile, 12 of 2degrees' mobile sites were impacted by the power cut in Gisborne

While all 12 of 2degrees' mobile sites are operational, some have reduced data speeds, 2degrees said.

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Four sites have already had mains power restored, three are being powered by generators brought in by 2degrees, and the five remaining sites are on battery power, with generators being brought in this evening.

Data speeds have been reduced from 4G to 3G at a number of sites to conserve power.

"We do expect calling and data to be impacted in rural northwest Gisborne later today as one site in the hills behind Hexton runs out of batteries," a spokesman said.

"There may also be some impact as we switch sites from battery to generator power but we are working to limit this.

"One site that covers northwest Gisborne will likely power down towards evening - this in inaccessible by road. Calling and data will be impacted. We are investigating other options, but it is likely that this site will be restored when power is restored.

"Given the reasonably minimal expected service impact to 2degrees customers the biggest challenge will likely be keeping phones charged. To preserve battery power we recommend turning off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile data when you don't need it. "

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