Police are praising bystanders who lifted a tree off five foreign tourists, including a family of four with two preschoolers, at the Shotover Jet base in Queenstown today.
Five people were sitting underneath the tree on the riverbank near Shotover Jet base at Arthurs Point Road when it fell about 1pm, the company said.
Dunedin Hospital said three of them had been admitted there, and two were in a stable condition by about 9pm after initially suffering critical injuries. The other person was in a serious condition.
The two others, who had moderate and minor injuries, were taken to Lakes District Hospital.
Detective senior sergeant Malcolm Inglis confirmed the people injured were from overseas: A family of four, including two preschoolers, and one other person.
Their ages and nationality had yet to be confirmed, he said.
He said those hurt had no chance to escape when the tree fell, but onlookers went to help them.
"People from Shotover Jet and members of the public did a tremendous job in assisting in lifting the tree prior to emergency services arriving and rendering first aid to the family who were quite badly injured at that stage."
He said police had left the scene but were investigating the cause of the tree's collapse.
"There are hundreds of trees around New Zealand that, you know, topple every year due to wind and other factors.
"We're just making sure that this is an accident and there's nothing been neglected or done wrong in relation to that tree to have caused this."
Mr Inglis said wind was a major factor and it was a relatively old tree.
A spokesperson for Ngāi Tahu tourism, which owns Shotover Jet, said all five were believed to be conscious and would be taken to hospital.
Their focus was on supporting the individuals, their whānau and the team at Shotover Jet, the spokesperson said.
Worksafe said it had been notified. Police and Fire and Emergency NZ were also in attendance.
Located just opposite the base the owner of Mangy Moose Lodge, James Patterson, could see the accident site.
"It looks like there's a big tree fallen over just down from the stairway," he said.
"Wind's blowing about 35, 40 knots [65-75km/h] I'd say, and it's funneling up the valley."
An alert on Shotover Jet's website said it was closed for the day and asked people to reschedule bookings.