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A woman fell three stories into a trash compactor while trying to help a teenager retrieve his keys, according to police and local media.
The 38-year-old woman was paid $20 to assist after the keys fell down the apartment block's garbage chute in Salem, Massachusetts, police Lt. Brian Gillian told NBC News on Wednesday.
"She was obviously in pain"
The teen initially attempted to lower the woman down the chute from the third floor by holding onto her feet, Gillian said.
When this didn't work, the 19-year-old tied a sheet round the woman's legs and tried again. However, the sheet ripped and the woman plummeted down the chute into the trash compactor, Gillian added.
"When she fell into the trash compactor it activated," he said. "She suffered a serious leg injury. It was badly twisted and clearly broken."
A police officer arrived at the scene at around 6:20 a.m. ET on Monday.
"The officer was greeted by a hysterical person who was looking for help and brought him to the basement," Gillian said. "There was a female lying on the ground next to a dumpster. She was obviously in pain and had a very serious leg injury."
The woman had "a severely deformed leg," the New England Cable News reported, citing Salem police Capt. Conrad Prosniewski.
She was taken to the hospital and was listed in a stable condition.