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Man survives being 'recycled' after falling asleep in bin in Oregon

The Independent logo The Independent 14/08/2016 Jess Staufenberg
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A man who fell asleep in a recycling bin was compacted several times before workers realised they had picked up a person.

Ivan Rosalio Mendez Perez went to sleep in a bin filled with cardboard which was then emptied into a large recycling truck in Oregon.

The 23-year-old managed to escape with little more than a fractured leg after throwing cardboard out of the truck to catch workers' attention.

Yet he had been compacted a number of times by the truck's cardboard-crushing machinery - as the driver sat oblivious in his seat - before finally being rescued.

Eric Carter, captain of the Albany Police Department, said Mr Perez was lucky to be alive.

“The driver became aware of it at 'Big 5 Sporting Goods' because the subject was throwing cardboard out of the truck," Captain Carter told the Albany Democrat-Herald.

"He got out to look and heard Mr Perez yelling, so he contacted us. Albany Fire also responded to remove Mr Perez from the truck.”

The young man, who was from Oregon, was taken a nearby medical centre for treatment in Albany and is reportedly in a good condition.

Republic Services, the company in charge of emptying 100 bins in the city, said its employees were constantly trying to raise public awareness about the dangers of sleeping in bins. "Dumpster diving", which is where people go through the contents of bins for anything they can use, was reportedly also a problem.

Julie Jackson, the municipal manager at the company, said drivers did not check the contents of bins before tipping them directly upside down into the truck.

"This a front load truck. The driver doesn’t even get out," she said.

"They'll pull up, connect the bars on the front of truck to the grooves on the side of the dumpster, and it goes straight up. It doesn’t tip until it's above their heads at the back of truck."

Homelessness in the neighbouring city of Portland in Oregon reached such a worrying scale that authorities declared it a "state of emergency" in September last year, according to a press release from Charlie Hales, Portland's mayor.

An online community group called Albany, meanwhile, says camps are set up in Albany by homeless people who are unable to find affordable housing in the city.

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