A person was trapped in a van for more than an hour after the vehicle crashed down a bank in an isolated area on the South Island.

Five people were injured, one seriously, in the crash, which happened shortly before 8am between Pleasant Flat and Clarke Bluff, inland from Haast, on State Highway 6.

The van was the only vehicle involved.

Two helicopters were a sent to the crash.

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A police spokesman said two people have been flown to Dunedin Hospital and one to Queenstown Hospital.

Fire Service southern communications shift manager Andrew Norris said the crash had happened in a very isolated area on SH6.