The pilot also leapt to safety wearing a parachute (Representational Photo)
Wellington, New Zealand:
All 13 people on a New Zealand skydiving plane that got into trouble on Wednesday managed to don parachutes and leap out moments before the plane plunged into a lake, police said.
Police spokeswoman Kim Perks said some of those aboard - which included six passengers, six crew members and the pilot - were being checked by medical staff but she didn't believe any suffered major injuries.
She said the plane, operated by Skydive Taupo, encountered an emergency situation as it was ascending above the eastern side of Lake Taupo.
She said each of the crew members had planned to tandem dive with one of the passengers, and they managed to do just that as they abandoned the aircraft. She said the pilot also leaped to safety in a parachute and was able to swim to the lake's shore.
Robbie Graham, an artist who works at the Wildwood Art Gallery in the town of Waitahanui, said he was standing in front of the gallery when he saw a number of people in parachutes coming down above the lake about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away. He said he didn't see the plane crash.
"I saw all these people coming down, and I thought that was a crazy place to be coming down, that they would all end up in the lake," he said.
He said the parachutists were about 200 meters (656 feet) above the water when he saw them, and the only thing that made sense was perhaps they were engaged in some kind of training exercise.
Graham said it was a gorgeous day on the lake and that many holidaymakers would have witnessed the crash from the beach.
Lake Taupo is popular among holidaymakers and tourists at this time of year, during the Southern Hemisphere summer.