Five people – including three children – were injured after a boat overturned as it tried to cross the bar near Taieri Mouth in Otago this afternoon.
An adult and two children were taken by helicopter to Dunedin hospital in serious condition.
Another adult and a child – who were slightly injured – were taken to hospital by ambulance.
Police said the small boat they were in had an outboard motor and turned as it left as they attempted to cross the bar around 1 p.m.
The group rescued local jet skiers and snowboarders, including two medics who provided first aid.
Police said the boat had not been recovered.
Otago Rescue Helicopter Chief Pilot Graeme Gale said three helicopters were dispatched to the scene.
He said the accident was an “absolute tragedy”.
“People were having a great day, and it is absolutely devastating for everyone involved and the family. Our hearts are with them.”