Friends and family have paid tribute to the ''beautiful, vibrant and feisty young woman'' who died after a car crash near Mt Cook on Monday.

Rebecca Louise Townshend, 18, of Dunedin, died when the Toyota hatchback in which she was a passenger came off the road and rolled about 2am on Monday.

She was remembered by loved ones as a ''beautiful girl''.

''You were always smiling, always laughing and always the light of everyone's lives,'' one tribute posted on an online tribute site said.

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''You always had positive things to say and a great outlook on life! I admired you for that more than anything. You turned all my cloudy days into ones so warm and bright and for all of that I owe my life to you. You are so beautiful. You are so kind and so caring.

''They say God only takes the best and this time he truly did take the very best!''I'm so sorry that you were taken away from this earth so soon. But don't worry you will never ever be forgotten! Our hearts won't ever fully mend but I know you will do your best to help heal everyone from above.''

A tribute from her family said ''Bex wasn't with us for long but she fitted a lot into her short life''.

Family and friends were welcome to spend time with Miss Townshend at her home today and tomorrow, her family said.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash.

Senior Constable Les Andrew said three women were in the car when it crashed.

A 19 year old was taken to Dunedin Hospital by helicopter in a serious condition with facial and leg injuries, and a 21 year old was taken to Christchurch Hospital by helicopter in a serious condition with suspected spinal injuries.

Miss Townshend, who died at the scene, had recently begun work at the Hermitage Hotel.

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The car's other occupants were also understood to have worked at Mt Cook.