'Too late': Harrowing moments before boy killed by garbage truck

·News Editor
·3-min read

Devastating new details have emerged about the moments immediately before a boy was killed by a garbage truck while sleeping in a bin in South Australia. 

Three boys aged 11, 12 and 13 were allegedly asleep inside the bin in a carpark next to a McDonald's drive-thru in Port Lincoln, South Australia, about 5.20am Tuesday when a garbage truck came to collect it.

The 13-year-old tragically died at the scene after one of the boys managed to jump out while the other was uninjured. 

South Australia Police Superintendent Paul Bahr told reporters Tuesday afternoon about the moment one of the boys attempted to alert the garbage truck driver they were in the bin. 

South Australia Police Superintendent Paul Bahr said the boys did everything they could to stop the tragic death. Source: 7News
South Australia Police Superintendent Paul Bahr said the boys did everything they could to stop the tragic death. Source: 7News

"One of the boys who got out [and] rushed around to the driver's side – the boy managed to get out quite early – [and] started banging on the door of the cabin to alert the driver," he said.

"By time the truck driver was alerted there were people in the bin it was at that point it was too late to stop the skip from tipping."

Superintendant Bahr added that police were still acquiring details from the boys given their young ages and the amount of trauma they were going through.

"The boys, and one in particular, did everything they could to stop this," he said. 

Police do not believe the boys were related and did not classify them as homeless as they had beds they could sleep in. 

He did not elaborate whether or not they felt safe in their current living situation. 

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Superintendant Bahr added they were not aware of the boys sleeping rough in the community before.

"Port Lincoln can have an issue with homelessness like every community and from time to time we do get rough sleepers," he said.

"We are not aware of children sleeping rough – we do have some very good support services here that tend to act very quickly if we do get reports of it but I'm not aware, in general, of children sleeping rough."

Superintendent Bahr said the incident was "tragic across a whole number of levels". 

"And [homelessness] is just one of the levels of tragedy of this as to why these three children thought they needed to be sleeping in the bin on what was a pretty cold and wet night as well – it wasn't a good night to be sleeping outdoors," he said. 

Police said the truck driver collecting the rubbish was unaware there were children inside the bin and is said to be "extremely shaken" by the incident.

Safe Work SA have been advised of the incident and police are preparing a report for the coroner.

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