A Walmer Township man died in a freak accident at the Arlington tip when he was caught under the wheels of a municipal bulldozer yesterday.
Amos Dywili, 54, was picking through trash on the outskirts of the dumpsite just after midday when the heavyduty vehicle with metal wheels reversed over him. He died at the scene. Dywili’s devastated sister, Elsie, 53, sat on the ground next to a police vehicle, staring at the spot where her brother’s body lay.
“A friend came to my house. He told me Amos was in a bad accident at the tip and I needed to go there now,” she said.
“I did not expect to find his body.”
Looking at the massive yellow vehicle that crushed her brother, Elsie’s hand shook as she covered her mouth and fought back the tears.
“They [Dywili’s friends] told me to go look there, and when I walked over a heap of trash I saw him lying there in the rubbish.”
She said Dywili had come to the tip almost daily, picking through the trash for something he could sell or find a use for.
According to witnesses, Dywili had been waiting for the bulldozer to pass so he could rummage through the trash behind the vehicle.
The driver of the bulldozer was not aware of Dywili and started reversing.
“We called out to him, but I guess he could not hear us over the noise of the bulldozer,” Sam Mbane, 42, who had been picking through rubbish near Dywili, said.
“The big vehicle just went over him. I don’t even know if he saw it coming.”
The specialised bulldozer, also known as a landfill compactor, is fitted with a big scoop at the front, used for shifting large piles of rubbish.
The metal wheels are covered in blunt “blades” that compact the trash.
Landfill compactors, similar to the one that killed Dywili, weigh about 25 tons.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.
“The 35-year-old driver said he was unaware that anyone was that close to the vehicle at the time of the incident,” Labans said.
“He did not see [Dywili] behind the bulldozer when he started reversing and only realised what had happened when it was too late.”
Labans said the tragedy was being treated as an accidental death.
Opening a case of culpable homicide was standard procedure in such cases.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki expressed condolences to Dywili’s family.
“It is with sadness that we learnt about this incident,” he said.
“We are investigating the matter.”
Mniki said an investigation would also be launched into ways of improving access to the site as well as how to improve working conditions at the site.