A 13-year-old boy has been killed after the industrial bin he was sleeping in was emptied on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, police have confirmed.
His 12-year-old friend banged frantically on the door of a rubbish truck to alert the driver that he and his friends were asleep inside a skip bin which was being emptied, police said today.
The Port Lincoln, and wider South Australian, Aboriginal community are reeling following the death of one of the boys, aged 13.
SA Police Superintendent Paul Bahr said all three boys were sleeping inside the skip bin in a car park in Edinburgh Street, Port Lincoln, when the truck driver made a routine pick up at 5.20am today.
“As the bin is being lifted, one of the boys has managed to scramble out,” he told reporters.
“However the other two appear to have been tipped over with the bin as it’s been lifted up into the truck.”
Police and paramedics attempted to revive the 13-year-old who sustained serious injuries and died at the scene.
NITV has spoken with relatives of the boy, who was Aboriginal, who say the death has shaken the community.
Supt Bahr, the officer in charge of the Eyre region, praised the young boy who tried to raise the alarm.
“From what I understand, the boy who managed to get out quite early started banging on the door of the cabin to alert the driver,” he said.
“We haven’t gone into great detail with the boys given their very young age and it will take some time to get that detail out.”
He said the boys who survived were clearly traumatised, as was the truck driver, who, unaware anyone was in the skip bin, has been taken to hospital.
Supt Bahr said the circumstances leading up to the deaths, including why the boys were sleeping rough, would be investigated in a report for the coroner.
“I think the background as to how they have ended up in this industrial bin and sleeping in this bin is really something that is going to take some time to understand,” Supt Bahr said.
“It will be part and a strong part of the Coronial investigation that we have now begun.”
He said police were unaware children in Port Lincoln were sleeping rough in the town until now.
“It’s tragic across a whole number of levels,” Supt Bahr said.
“Just one of the levels of tragedy of this is why these three children thought they needed to be sleeping in the bin on what was a pretty cold and wet night.
“That’s one of the avenues of the inquiry that we will be taking during the coronial investigation.
“The boys had somewhere to stay. They had beds they could sleep in.”
SafeWork SA is also investigating the incident, and has issued a statement offering condolences to the boy’s family and friends.
“SafeWork SA inspectors have attended the site and we are currently making enquiries into the incident,” it said in a statement.
Police are preparing a report for the coroner.