Steep terrain is making it difficult to free the body of a truck driver who died in a crash between Arthur's Pass and Greymouth on Wednesday morning.
The Greymouth police say the driver of the twin-trailer truck crashed on a steep and narrow section of the road at about 6.30am and the fully laden vehicle fell 50m down a gorge.
Serious crash investigators are at the scene, but the cause of the accident is not yet clear.
The driver from Hastings died at the scene.
State Highway 73 remains closed following the crash near Otira and the police are advising motorists to use the alternative route through Lewis Pass.