A woman is recovering after falling down a trash chute at the Loring Towers in Salem.

Nelia Linatopi, 38, was trying to retrieve a set of keys for a neighbor when she fell three stories down the chute. The 19-year-old had offered Linatopi 20 dollars to help retrieve keys he said fell down the chute when he was taking out the trash.

At first, Linatopi’s feet were held while she was lowered head first into the trash chute to look for the keys. When that did not work, Linatopi’s neighbor got a sheet, tied it to Linatopi and lowered her into the trash chute. As he was lowering her, the sheet ripped and Linatopi fell from the second floor to the basement.

The woman landed in a trash compactor, which turned on and broke her leg. When police arrived to the scene, they found the woman screaming in pain. She was brought to Mass General Hospital, where she is now recovering.

“She’s very lucky,” said Salem Fire Lt. Rich Brennan. “Had she gone down head first, she could have easily been killed.”

No charges have been filed.

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