A Sarasota man died after he was trapped between the frame and bed of a dump truck filled with trash at a Pinellas County Waste-to-Energy incinerator.
Brian Keith Porter, 47, pulled his truck into a waste facility Thursday morning. He drove to the back and pulled into bay No. 3 with a full load of trash.
Porter, who worked independently, started to dump the load from his truck but the bed malfunctioned, Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies said.
About 10 minutes later, a worker noticed Porter pinned between the frame rail of the truck and the dully loaded dumping bed.
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When rescuers arrived Porter was motionless. Firefighters first used inflatable airbags to lift the bed off the man. When that failed, they used forklifts.
An initial investigation indicates Porter was dumping the trash from his truck when the bed of the truck became stuck in the open position.
"It appears that when the malfunction occurred he attempted to approach the vehicle, tucked his head underneath it and basically something went terribly wrong and the bed of the truck collapsed injuring his neck," said Cecelia Barreda, public information coordinator for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies say as he tried to repair the problem but the bed came down and entrapped him between the frame of the truck and the bed.
Pinellas Park firefighters say they got there within six minutes but Porter was not moving when they arrived.
Chief Gary Berkheimer said firefighters first tried to use airbags to lift the bed of the dump truck off Porter's head, but that didn't work so they had to bring in a forklift to remove it.
"It was decided that it was time to try to use the forklift to try to lift the bed off the individual," said Berkheimer. "That was successful. The individual again was removed and it was declared that he was deceased at that time."
The accident occurred in the tipping area of the facility where commercial haulers dump trash that is burned to produce electricity.
An operations manager said the plant continued to operate but all incoming waste was diverted to the landfill.
Detectives say Porter's death appears to be accidental.
An investigation is ongoing.