Police are hoping to remove the remains of a body from a burnt out car near Nelson today.
The Fire Service was alerted to a car fire shortly before 2pm yesterday over a bank on the Whangamoa Saddle, north of Nelson.
The circumstances surrounding the fire and how the car came to be over the bank were unexplained, police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said.
A scene investigation was continuing today and there was currently some serious risk assessment going on, she said.The car would be hauled up the bank by the fire service, urban search and rescue teams and a commercial crane operator, she said.
The body is still in the vehicle."The big job today is to try and actually remove the vehicle from the scene.
That's not going to be an easy task," Ms Dunn said."It's in a pretty tricky and dangerous spot so it's not going to be the most straightforward thing to get it out and preserve the evidence and keep the car intact.
There's a bit of planning going on at the moment."Nelson station officer Craig Davies told Fairfax Media the spot on the highway is notoriously used as a "rubbish dump" for cars.The car was "well burnt" about 30m down the cliff in scrub by the time officers got to the scene, he said.
"People come here to dump cars off the edge on purpose, there's a whole heap of cars down there.
"Police are interested in speaking to anyone who saw a 1995 silver Nissan Sunny Saloon between 1pm and 2pm yesterday in the Whangamoa Saddle area, north of Nelson.
They also ask to hear from anyone who has information about any vehicle parked on the side of the road on State Highway 6 on the Whangamoa Saddle between those times.
Background inquiries to establish the identity of the person inside the vehicle, and what led to their death, are underway.
Detective Senior Sergeant Ciaran Sloan said it was important to keep people at the site safe and to protect any evidence in the burnt car.
"Our priorities at the moment are to keep people working at the scene safe and to protect the integrity of the vehicle and the evidence inside."We will then do a detailed examination of the vehicle at a safer location."
Anyone with information should call Nelson Police on 03 546 3840. Information can also be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.