Quick-thinking locals saved the life of a young man whose people mover vehicle went off the road and dropped down a bank into a stream in a remote area of the Coromandel Peninsula, police say.

The 23-year-old, who was driving along Tapu-Coroglen Rd on Tuesday afternoon when he crashed, was pulled to safety by people who came across the incident, district road policing manager inspector Freda Grace said.

"People who came across the crash were assisted by local residents in rendering life-saving first aid before ambulance staff arrived, and once the man was freed from the wreckage the man was airlifted to Auckland Hospital by helicopter."

The man, whose vehicle was in the stream when emergency services arrived, suffered serious to critical injuries in the crash.

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"In this case it appears the injured driver has a lot to be grateful for, and the actions by the various people involved are worthy of recognition," Mrs Grace said.