A woman remained undiscovered in a crashed car for more than six hours after being abandoned when the car went over a bank in Queenstown yesterday morning.
The 22-year-old German woman is in a critical condition and the police are looking for two people they believe were in the car when it crashed.
The black 1995 Honda Odyssey station wagon crashed down a bank at the Gorge Road Retail Centre about 4am yesterday.
Acting Senior Sergeant Steve Watt said officers were keeping an open mind but evidence suggested the young woman was not the driver of the vehicle.
"We're under the impression that there were also potentially two other occupants of that vehicle at the time of the accident and our investigation is focused on locating and speaking to those other occupants," Mr Watt said.
The vehicle sat lodged against a building for hours until it was discovered by a member of the public.
The woman was only communicating through murmurs by the time she was freed, he said.
"Our investigation has shown that the vehicle was probably at that scene from 4am that morning until it was discovered approximately 10.30 that morning."
The woman was transferred to Dunedin Hospital, where she underwent surgery and remained in a "very critical condition" in the intensive care unit.
The police in Queenstown wanted to hear from anyone who saw the vehicle driving around town earlier in the morning or who witnessed suspicious activity in the Gorge Road area about the time of the crash.
Anyone with information that can help is asked to contact Queenstown police on (03) 441-1600 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.