Police have this morning named the two individuals killed in a light aircraft crash in the Gibbston Valley area as Chris Scott, of the Bay of Plenty and Detective Travis Hughes, of Queenstown.
Mr Scott was the pilot and Detective Hughes his passenger.
The District Commander for the Southern District, Superintendent George Fraser, said the two men were conducting a routine cannabis reconnaissance flight.
Superintendent Fraser said he extended condolences to the families of both individuals on behalf of Police.
"Any aircraft crash of this nature is a tragedy. The involvement of individuals working as part of a police operation hits everyone involved in the organisation particularly hard."
Superintendent Fraser said the single engined Cessna 172 was flying in good weather and there are no indications at this point as to the cause of the crash.
An air accident inspector from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission will be at the crash site from mid-morning today.