A person has died and two people were rescued after a boat flipped while trying to cross the Manukau Bar today.

Emergency services were called around 12.20pm with a report of an overturned vessel, sending Coastguard and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to the scene on Auckland's west coast.

Police said it was thought the boat overturned this morning but was not reported until later.

"They were in the water quite sometime before a passing boat noticed the wreckage," Senior Sergeant Ross Hunter.

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A police officer at the scene. Photo / Michael Craig
A police officer at the scene. Photo / Michael Craig

The men on the boat had called in the incident and pulled two people from the water, however, the third occupant was already deceased, Hunter said.

He said the two survivors had lifejackets but police were unsure if the deceased was also wearing one.

The body was yet to be identified, although police were confident they knew who it was.

Both patients had been transported to the boat ramp near Huia. They were then taken to hospital by ambulance as a precaution.

The boat had since sunk.

Following the incident, the rescuers had gone back out to sea.

The Senior Sergeant said the men who responded were "very professional" and he "can't thank them enough".

The circumstances in which the boat overturned remained under investigation.

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Manukau Bar is well known as one of the most dangerous in the country.

In 2014, two men died in a crossing, when their small boat was swamped by waves.

- Additional reporting Olivia Fairhurst