The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 132: Dumpster Diving

Premier Date: November 25, 2009

During a rooftop chase, jumping into a dumpster will ensure survival and allow successful escape.


Adam and Jamie first underwent fall training from a professional stuntman. Then they went to a waste management facility to inspect some of the dumpsters. They found that the dumpster contents were mixed and usually contained dangerous items such as wood, metal, and even hospital waste. To test the best-case scenario, they dropped Buster (a crash-test dummy) into a dumpster filled with pieces of foam rubber. From a height of 20 feet (6 meters), accelerometers on Buster measured his deceleration at 9.9 G’s, which was even better than the 11.4 G’s that the professional stunt airbag provided. Adam then safely jumped into the foam-filled dumpster himself. Despite this result, it would be unlikely to to find such an ideal dumpster in real life, so this myth was only declared plausible.

When diving in an old-time diving suite (pre-SCUBA), failure of the surface air supply will cause deadly decompression that will push the diver’s body into the helmet.


Kari, Grant, and Tori began with a small scale test using a miniature diver made of ballistics gel. They lowered it into a diving tank at a Six Flags amusement park and found that the body of the diver was indeed pushed into the helmet when de-pressurized. Before the full scale test, Kari temporarily left the show due to her pregnancy, and a new host, Jessi, was introduced. Next, Tory built a fake diver using a plastic skeleton and pieces of pig flesh sewn around it together. Organs and fake blood were also inserted into the chest cavity. The team went to open waters and lowered the fake diver to a depth of 300 ft (91.4 m). At that depth, 135 psi (9.2 atm) of pressure was needed to equalize the suit pressure. To simulate the air line being cut, grant used a quick-release valve. To the team’s surprise, the pressure differential did indeed force organs, blood, and flesh, into the helmet, and thus, the myth was confirmed.