A 38-year-old man died after his van plunged as far as 40 metres down bluff in Canterbury today.

The crash happened south of Marble Point on State Highway 7, between Culverden and Hanmer just before 7am, police said.

Emergency services arrived to find the van about 30 to 40 metres down a bluff in what police described as a precarious position.

The driver, who was the sole occupant of the van, was unresponsive, police said.

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The Fire Service attached ropes from a fire engine and a 4WD police vehicle to the crashed vehicle to stop it falling further down the bluff.

Once the vehicle was stabilised, an ambulance crew was able to assess the man, but he had died at the scene.

The man would be publicly identified after family members had been notified, police said.