The death of an 84-year-old man in a freak accident at a Western Bay of Plenty rubbish dump yesterday is being investigated as a road death, police say.
The Waihi man was dropping off rubbish at the Waihi Refuse Transfer Station, about 10.20am, when, a witness said, the man accelerated too hard, sending the vehicle into a spin.
Transfer station staff member Alan Irvine saw the accident unfold in front of him.
"He's gone to reverse his vehicle and he's opened his door to see where he's reversing and he's put his foot down on the accelerator too hard. The car spun around and threw him out of the car," he said.
"He was very lucky that the car didn't run over him. He was dragged for about a metre before he was totally thrown out.''
Mr Irvine said the man, who visited the dump about once a fortnight, had nasty cuts and grazes.
Police investigators were at the Transfer Station today.