A 37-year-old man who was crushed to death in an automatic garbage dumpster in Alexandroupoli triggered the crushing mechanism when he reached too far into the bin and ignored the warning signal, the northern Greek city’s municipal authority said on Tuesday.
“The robotic dumpster issues a sound signal [warning users] to keep their distance before the cover closes,” the municipality’s deputy mayor for sanitation, Ilias Dasteridis, told state broadcaster ERT, adding that the mechanism is safe and was working as it should be.
The 37-year-old “put almost his entire body inside the bin and the machine identified him as a mass of refuse,” Dasteridis explained, attributing the accident to the victim “making a wrong assessment and a mistake.”
Investigators looking into Monday’s incident found a pharmacy bag with medicines and a prescription in the victim’s name inside the dumpster, which allowed them to piece together the most likely sequence of events.
Local media had initially speculated that the victim was a homeless man looking for food.
“If he had notified the municipality that he’d lost something in the bin, we would have retrieved it after first disabling the mechanism,” said Dasteridis.
“It is a terrible incident that has shocked us all,” he added.