Pilot Peter Maloney, whose company Composite Helicopters Ltd designed and made the vehicle, and passenger Nina Heatley made an unplanned landing on the water at 11.17am after they lost power.

“As we were flying I did observe a turbine warning light and then heard an audible warning and then I declared a mayday and made an emergency auto rotation,” Maloney told Stuff.co.nz.

The pair, who could both swim, were in the water for a few minutes before they were rescued.

“At first we floated with the aircraft and as it began to sink we moved away so nothing could get snagged,” he said.

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter chief paramedic Barry Watkin saw the splash of the crash while training with others at the harbour.

Their exercises almost became the real deal, but by the time they’d mobilised the pair had been picked up by the navy.

“The navy had dried them off and given them clothes to wear and they were perfectly capable of walking and actually, uninjured,” Watkin said. 

Image via Youtube