It's understood the middle-aged man who died after falling from a moving van on Auckland's Southern Motorway was intellectually disabled.

The man died at the scene after he fell from the white van, which was moving at 100km/h.

An Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust spokesman this morning confirmed the victim was a middle-aged man.

The Herald understands the man was intellectually disabled.

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Police are now investigating the death for the Coroner.

A motorist who witnessed the horror told the Herald they saw the man fall from a white van shortly after 11am.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and a Police Eagle helicopter landed on the motorway.

A police spokesperson said the Eagle helicopter crew are equipped to provide first aid at the scene of critical incidents.

The Police Eagle helicopter lands of the northbound section of the southern motorway near the Ellerslie-Panmure interchange. Photo / Doug Sherring
The Police Eagle helicopter lands of the northbound section of the southern motorway near the Ellerslie-Panmure interchange. Photo / Doug Sherring

"If the Eagle helicopter is in the vicinity and is able to provide immediate assistance in emergency situations then they may be asked to attend, as was the case yesterday.

"While it is not a common occurrence, Eagle has previously landed on main roads during critical incidents when required."

The woman, who was two cars behind the van, described the events as "unbelievable".

"It was unbelievable how the man didn't get run over by the truck that was on the left lane as it happened so suddenly," she told the Herald.

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All citybound lanes were closed after the man fell from the van, causing lengthy traffic delays from 11.15am to 1.30pm.

Scene of yesterday's fatal accident on Auckland's Southern Motorway at Ellerslie. Photo / Doug Sherring
Scene of yesterday's fatal accident on Auckland's Southern Motorway at Ellerslie. Photo / Doug Sherring

The police Eagle helicopter had to land in the middle of the motorway to provide immediate first aid.

A police spokeswoman said the Eagle helicopter was requested to assist because it would be the quickest way to get to the scene.

One witness said a person could be seen lying on the motorway and was being treated by ambulance staff.

Witnesses said drivers were reversing down the motorway to try to avoid the crash scene, with delays stretching back as far as Sylvia Park.

The Serious Crash Unit was at the scene.