A woman in Abbotsford, B.C., experienced a terrifying close call Sunday morning after she became trapped in the back of a garbage truck.
It was about 8:30 a.m. when Stan Pilat heard the garbage truck making its regular pickup behind his wood shop on the 28000 block of Ranch Avenue.
But when he didn’t hear the truck pick up his dumpster or drive away, Pilat headed out back to find out what was going on.
“I go out to the back, and there’s an ambulance backing up to my shop and (the garbage truck driver is) standing outside, and then I noticed the lady’s head hanging out of the top of the garbage truck and she wasn’t moving,” Pilat told Global News.
The driver told Pilat that as he was about to make the pickup, he saw movement in a camera that monitors the truck’s load.
“There was this woman in there trying to climb up to the top, and she was stuck on the top,” said Pilat.
Amazingly, the woman is believed to have been in the truck since one of its earlier pickups at a Mark’s Work Wearhouse in Chilliwack, about 40 kilometres away.
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Abbotsford Fire and Rescue Service responded to the call and used a ladder truck to help extract the woman, who appeared to be around 40 years old, said assistant fire chief Craig Leighton.
Firefighters believe she climbed into the dumpster to find somewhere to sleep out of the rain.
Leighton said the woman was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
“She was found to have a broken hip and bumps and bruises and was transported via ambulance for medical care,” he said.
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Leighton said it’s not the first time the department has received reports of someone sleeping in a dumpster and that while some dumpsters are locked, not all are secured.
A spokesperson for Super Save Disposal, which operates the truck, declined to be interviewed and said the company could not comment because the incident is under active investigation.
As for Pilat, he’s hailing the garbage truck driver as a hero, saying his attention to detail averted what would have likely been a tragedy.
“Luckily, he didn’t dump (our) load because our load was full of sawdust and wood and splinters and stuff like that,” he said.
“She’s a very lucky person. If he had of dumped that load, I don’t think she would have made it.”