Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Homeless man's bin lorry ordeal

Bin men came to the rescue of a homeless man.

A homeless man sleeping in a city centre bin was moments from death after being emptied into the back of a bin lorry.

It is believed the man, aged in his 30s, climbed inside the large 1,100 litre bin near flats at Hardwick Street in Dublin and covered himself with rubbish to shelter from the winter cold.

Fast-acting binmen who tipped the commercial recycling container into a huge waste lorry during their rounds before 8am this morning shut down the compactor when they heard noises from the rubbish.

Emergency services were called to the scene and the homeless man walked away unscathed.

Michael Buckley, chief executive of Greyhound Waste, said the quick reaction from his workers had undoubtedly saved a life.

"I have to commend the three crew members for saving the man's life," he said.

"The man actually went into the back of the compaction truck.

"In normal circumstances that would be fatal on its own, but through the observations of the workers they were able to hear the man and a bit of movement in the back so they immediately shut down the truck and called the emergency services.

"When everyone was on the scene then they opened the back of the truck and luckily the man got out and he was alive.

"It was a very near fatal incident."

Last August, Polish national Henryk Piotrowski, 43, was crushed to death in an industrial-sized bin in south Dublin.

It is believed he had been sleeping rough in the bin when it was emptied.

Staff working for Panda waste company at the Ballymount Road facility in Walkinstown made the grim discovery as the contents of the bin lorry, which had been compacted and crushed, was being emptied.

Mr Buckley said it was become a more frequent occurrence.

"Homeless people are getting in and using bins as cover at night time to sleep in and they cover themselves with rubbish so there is little to no hope of the crews actually seeing the people until they go into the truck," he said.

The waste chief said there had been a number of similar incidents throughout the country recently.

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