Department of Conservation (DOC) hunters were on board a helicopter which crashed this morning near Wanaka, killing three people.
Police have confirmed three people were on board the helicopter and that there were no survivors.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage confirmed today that DOC staff were on board.
"The focus is now on supporting the families of the men who died," Ms Sage said Wellington.
"It's an absolute tragedy, my heart goes out to their families and their workmates."
The ODT reports two DOC staff were on board the helicopter as well as pilot Nick Wallis. Mr Wallis is the brother of Matthew Wallis, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Lake Wanaka three months ago.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) have confirmed that a Hughes 500 helicopter was involved and they had launched an inquiry into today's accident.
A TAIC team of four, including three investigators are travelling to the crash site.
Police received a call just before 11am from a member of the public who reportedly saw smoke coming out of a chopper in the area.