A crane arrived this afternoon at the scene of a truck crash on the Kaikoura coast in which the driver has been missing since this morning.

The crane arrived from Blenheim and would replace rescue teams who have been winched down by helicopter and abseiled in to try to find a driver, whose freight truck crashed off the road on the Hundalee Hill on State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura.

Inspector Rick Jury said the police were still unsure as to the location of the driver.

It is understood that he could be trapped inside the wreck of the truck cab, or underneath the vehicle.


State Highway 1, which closed after the crash, has since been opened to one lane traffic but would close while the crane was operating.

Southern fire communication shift manager Andrew Norris said firefighters had used ropes to make their way about 25m down a bank to reach the cab of the truck earlier today, but had not located the driver.

"They have done some exploratory work of the vehicle, but have not as yet located the driver."

Mr Norris said the truck was carrying corrosive substances which had been isolated.

"There has been extensive damage to the truck."