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'Nobody else saw him': Yellowknife woman saves man dumped from garbage bin into truck

A woman's smoke break is being credited for saving a man from potentially being crushed inside a garbage truck.

The 42-year-old man was transported to hospital with minor injuries

Jody Prince alerted the police and her husband, Donald, when she realized a man had been dumped into a garbage truck. (Hilary Bird/CBC)

A woman's smoke break is being credited for saving a man from potentially being crushed inside a garbage truck.

Jody Prince says she was having a cigarette Tuesday on the balcony of her apartment near Old Airport Road in Yellowknife, N.W.T, when she saw a garbage truck pull up to a dumpster below her and pick it up.

"I was just going to go back in, but I heard yelling. So I turned back around and as I turned around the bucket was coming up and I could see the guy flailing, yelling for the dump truck driver to stop," Prince told CBC.

"I couldn't do anything."

The truck driver didn't see the man and dumped the dumpster over, throwing the man into the back of the truck. The truck then put the dumpster down and drove off.

"It looked like it was quite a fall because they only tip it so far at the top," Prince said.
Peter Houweling, owner of Kavanaugh Waste Services, says many dumpsters in Yellowknife have been retrofitted to make them more difficult for people to climb into. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

She called the police and woke up her husband, Donald, to tell him what happened.

"I put on my runners and grabbed my keys and I ran like hell down the stairs and into my truck," her husband said.

He raced after the garbage truck, which was now a few blocks away.

He was able to pull up beside the truck and get the attention of the driver in a Walmart parking lot, just as RCMP pulled up.

Emergency services rescued the 42-year-old man from the truck. He was transported to hospital with minor injuries.

"I must have [been] meant to be out here for that guy," Prince said.

Covered in garbage

The City of Yellowknife contracts its garbage and recycling pickup to Kavanaugh Waste Services. The company's owner, Peter Houweling, said the incident is being investigated.

He said all of the company's trucks have a camera in the back, but they're mainly used for drivers to keep an eye on the garbage level.

He said the man who was in the dumpster was most likely covered in garbage and not visible.

Houweling said many of the waste bins around the city have been retrofitted to make them more difficult for people to climb into.

He said the company will be producing a poster that it will put up around Yellowknife warning people about the dangers of climbing into garbage bins.

"Another time, I don't know what would have happened to that guy. He probably wouldn't be around anymore. Nobody else heard him. Nobody else saw him," Donald Prince said.

"Guess I can't get mad at Jody for smoking anymore."

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