One person has died following a horrific jet boat crash near Wanaka Airport this afternoon after the vessel left the water and skidded 40 metres along a bank.

Skid marks show where the jet boat left the Clutha River around 1.30pm before coming to a stop about 20 metres above the waterline.

Photo / NZ Herald graphic
Photo / NZ Herald graphic

Two blue strops have been connected to the vessel at either end from above the embankment in a bid to stop it rolling back into the water.

Emergency services personnel can be seen standing on top of the bank surveying the crash site.

Photo / James Allan
Photo / James Allan

Police confirmed another person was airlifted to hospital with moderate to serious injuries following the incident which occurred around 1.30pm.

"The Swift Water Rescue team have been called out to assist with the scene examination and Maritime New Zealand are also on their way," police said.

"The area where the crash has occurred has been difficult to access, and emergency services will take some time at the scene to establish the cause."

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) spokesman confirmed they were assisting other emergency services at the scene.

The crash involved a vessel which was racing in an event organised by the New Zealand Jet Boat Racing Association.

In a statement, NZJBRRA said "This is a very difficult time. We are a very close-knit community and are still coming to terms with what's happened here today", 1 News reports.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is aware of the incident but under the "circumstances reports so far", it has not opened an inquiry.

Maritime New Zealand has also been notified of the incident.


Today's tragedy comes after a jet boat crashed on a remote part of Queenstown's Shotover River yesterday.

Ten people were on board the Skippers Canyon jet boat when it crashed into rocks, injuring nine.

Two passengers remained in hospital this morning while the remaining passengers were discharged yesterday.

In a statement today, Skippers Canyon Jet marketing manager Gavin Larsen said the adventure company's operations remained suspended until further notice while a Transport Accident Investigation Commission and Maritime NZ investigation takes place.

Investigators are yet to determine what caused the crash.

"The company followed its operational safety procedures as a result of the incident and is working alongside the Maritime Safety Authority to determine its cause.

"A team from the TAIC will arrive in Queenstown tomorrow," the statement said.

Larsen said the company would conduct its own internal investigation and would fully co-operate with the relevant authorities.

"We deeply regret the distress caused to all passengers involved and are providing them with our full support," he said.