Chopper winches trapped motorist out
Two men were lucky to survive after their vehicle plunged 30 metres off a bank in an area known as the Devil's Staircase.
The crash happened just south of Queenstown near the Wye Creek Bridge about 5am today, closing State Highway 6 for several hours.
Police said the 24-year-old driver lost control of his Toyota Highlander and crashed through a roadside barrier at a bend.
The vehicle plunged about 30m down the bank, landing in a creek.
The driver and his 22-year-old male passenger were able to get out of the vehicle, and the passenger was able to scramble up to the road and flag down a passing motorist for help.
The driver was unable to get up the bank because of his injuries, and had to be winched up by a rescue helicopter and paramedic.
The driver suffered leg and possible internal injuries, while the passenger suffered minor injuries.
Both men were taken to Lakes District Hospital for further treatment.
The pair were originally from the United Kingdom, but were living in Queenstown, acting Sergeant Phil Hamlin said.
An investigation into the crash was still underway.
Hamlin said it was too early to say what factors caused the crash, but the fact the men were wearing safety belts "undoubtedly" prevented further injuries.
"Both men appear to have been extremely lucky," he said.