A boat race at Lake Te Anau has taken a tragic turn after a man fell from a yacht and died.

St John ambulance and police were called to the incident, which happened during an annual race event this afternoon.

Several other vessels searched for the man after he fell and he was found in the water a short time later.

"CPR was commenced on a man in his 60s however [it] was unsuccessful," said a police spokeswoman.

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Police are making inquiries on behalf of the coroner.