Passers-by save children from wreck

Members of the public rescued two children from a partly submerged van that rolled into a culvert in Southland this afternoon.

A 32-year-old male was flown to hospital with serious injuries following the crash on State Highway 6 at the Lumsden North Culvert about 3.40pm.

Police said the van towing a trailer was travelling south, drifted to the left side of the road, and collided with the concrete edge of the culvert.

"The vehicle has stopped instantly and the force has caused the van to flip over, landing in the culvert on the roof. There was water present in the culvert."

The 32-year-old driver and a 10-year-old boy were in the front seats, and an 8-year-old girl was in the back seat. The trailer was transporting five pig hunting dogs.

About three carloads of passers-by pulled the children from the van before emergency services arrived.

Firefighters cut the driver free. He was flown to Dunedin Hospital with serious leg injuries. The 10-year-old boy was taken in for observation. All the dogs have been recovered.

Police said all people in the van were wearing seat belts, which "has certainly prevented a fatal crash occurring".

The investigation into the crash is continuing.

Fairfax Media