A college student from New York and another from London have died while kayaking in New Zealand.

Police area commander Dave Gaskin said the pair was part of a group of 11 friends who got into trouble Friday while kayaking on Lake Tekapo.

Gaskin told Television New Zealand it was "very, very lucky" that all 11 students didn't die after they were struck by strong winds that swamped their vessels and thrust them into the frigid lake water.

The students were all attending Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and were visiting New Zealand during a semester break.

Police said those who died were 21-year-old Daniel Hollnsteiner from New York and 20-year-old James Murphy from London.

Hollnsteiner's Facebook page said he had been living in Buffalo and was from Staten Island.