Briton dies in NZ light plane crash

A Briton has died after the light aircraft he was flying crashed into a riverbed in New Zealand.

Christopher Howell, 46, and the New Zealander he was flying with, 48-year-old Christopher Rawlings, were killed when the plane came down on Sunday.

Mr Howell was working to convert his UK pilot's licence and was at the controls when the Piper crashed near Hastings on the North Island, said police.

The country's Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the accident.

Mr Howell was in the process of converting his UK licence to a New Zealand one, according to Bruce Govenlock, president of Hawke's Bay and East Coast Aero Club, who Mr Howell was training with.

"We didn't know of him until Saturday when he arrived for some practice lessons with an instructor," said Mr Govenlock.

"The crash happened on his third flight of the weekend. It's hard to believe. He arrived Saturday, and Sunday morning this had happened.

"He said he planned to get a New Zealand licence and find an employment opportunity over here. We understand he had a wife and children back in Britain."

Mr Govenlock added that Mr Howell would have been flying the plane but that the instructor would have been using a dual control system.

Mr Rawlings, from the nearby town of Clive, had been a member of the club for more than 20 years and was a former club captain.