Police search five hours after motorist crashed down embankment but didn't know where she was

The quick thinking of an elderly motorist who crashed down a bank helped save her life and aided police in her rescue yesterday afternoon.

An elderly woman is helicoptered to hospital in Otago after crashing down a steep slope. (Source: NZ Police)

The woman rang emergency services around 4.30pm after her vehicle crashed down a steep bank in Central Otago.

Stuck in the vehicle, the woman was unable to give emergency services her exact location before the call dropped out but was able to say water was coming into the vehicle before the call ended.

Police say phone polling suggested she was between Palmerston and Omakau.

With the temperature dropping to freezing, fire crews and police set out to find the missing vehicle.

Police say they were able to locate her near the Wederburn Pub at 9.30pm.

The woman had a badly broken arm and was given pain relief by emergency services before being extracted from the vehicle, lifted up the slope and helicoptered to Dunedin Hospital.

Police say if she wasn’t located when she was she would have been at risk of catching hypothermia with temperatures dropping below zero.