Two people are believed to have died when two light planes crashed into each other and then caught fire on their final approach to Hood Aerodrome near Masterton today.
An eyewitness has described the moment of impact, saying, "There was a hell of a bang and then they fell apart and came spiralling down".
Michael O'Donnell of the Wairarapa Aero Club confirmed that one of their members had been killed in a mid-air collision this morning with what is reported to have been an aircraft from Skydive Wellington.
"Clearly the club is in shock. We're working with authorities," O'Donnell said. "It's not something we would expect in this weather."
Weather conditions are fine in Masterton, with clear skies and sun shining.
It is understood that at the time of the collision, the skydiving plane was returning to the aerodrome after skydivers jumped.
Emergency services are responding to the accident which happened near Hughes Line.
A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said they were called at 11.13am after two light aircraft collided.
"They were on the ground on fire. We responded with crews from Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Palmerston North.
"The fire has been extinguished and we are now assisting police operations."
A Wairarapa Aero Club member said the two aircraft collided on final approach to Hood Aerodrome. He said two pilots had died.
Newshub reported that Skydive Wellington, which operates from Hood Aerodrome, had confirmed one of its planes was involved in the crash.
Graham Pearce, who lives nearby, told Stuff he saw the two planes collide with each other in the air.
"There was a hell of a bang and then they fell apart and came spiralling down."
His neighbour Carolyn Playford told Stuff she also witnessed the mid-air accident.
"All I saw was these two planes hit and the debris just coming down."
She was feeling shaky after the incident. "When you saw all the debris coming down, it was like, 'Oh my God'.
Hood Aerodrome, owned and operated by Masterton District Council, is supporting police and emergency services.