Two dead in West Coast chopper crash

Two men have been confirmed dead after a helicopter crash on the West Coast last night.

The chopper, which was flying from Wanaka to the West Coast, was reported overdue at 9.15pm.

After poor weather hampered the search last night, wreckage was seen this morning in the Fish River near the gates of Haast.

Searchers reached the crash site about 1pm and found the bodies of the pilot and the passenger inside the aircraft.

The pilot was a 54-year-old man from the Hokitika area and the passenger a 51-year-old man from the Haast area.

The bodies will be transported to Christchurch for a post mortem.

The deaths have been referred to the Coroner and Civil Aviation Authority are investigating.