A woman who fell off the back of a rubbish truck in Dannevirke this morning is in a serious condition in Palmerston North Hospital.

Dennis Geddis, a spokesman for Palmerston North Hospital said the woman, in her 50s, was in a serious condition, but was still being assessed by medical staff.

Eye-witnesses were shocked to see a woman fall from the back of a rubbish truck on Miller St this morning.

"I saw the woman, wearing full hi-visibility clothes and then the next minute she was lying unresponsive on the road," an eye-witness, who didn't want to be named, told the Dannevirke News.

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The woman was on the back of a Solid Waste Services rubbish truck which was picking up rubbish on Miller St when the eye-witness said she fell very heavily onto the road.

The man said he was very impressed by the actions of members of the public who stepped in, directing traffic and caring for the accident victim until emergency services arrived.

"People were so good," he said.

Senior sergeant Nathan Davis of the Tararua Police told the Dannevirke News the accident occurred at 10.15am.

"The truck was collecting rubbish when it stopped on the Miller St/Windsor St intersection. The driver then drove a small distance down the road, expecting the woman to jump in the cab," he said. "When she didn't, he got out of the vehicle to look for her and saw the crowd on the street."

The woman was lying on the street and appeared to have suffered head injuries.
"They were significant enough for her to be transported to Palmerston North Hospital by the rescue helicopter," Mr Davis said. "At this stage I don't know how serious her injuries are."

Mr Davis said he was very impressed with the actions of people who went to the women's aid.

"They were quick and did the right thing,"

Police are investigating, along with the commercial investigation team and WorkSafe New Zealand will conduct their own investigation.

"We have a women who witnessed it all," Mr Davis said.

Solid Waste Services is a contractor to the Tararua District Council and the company runs the Dannevirke Transfer station on behalf of council.