Crane Accidents

Power Line Accident Claims Life

09/13/00

Newport News, Virginia

A cable installer who was electrocuted when he touched a high-voltage line in Fairfax County Monday morning was identified yesterday as Ricky R. Hughes, 42, of Newport News.

Police said Hughes was installing cable television lines as a subcontractor for Cox Cable. About 10:30 a.m., Hughes was standing in the bucket of a cherry picker in the 1300 block of Beulah Road, just off Route 7, when he came in contact with a 19,500-volt line. The shock killed Hughes instantly, police said.

Police said they did not know yesterday whether Hughes or the bucket touched the line.

This is the 16th power line accident report we’ve received this year.

Category: Accident Report, In Memory of

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2 Responses

  1. Jon Willard says:

    I worked for Eastern Technical Communications when this happened. After Ricky was killed, I was sent with another foreman to finish the job. It was a long fiber optic cable pull and they setup right at a tree due to the open area they could setup the pull. It was a slack span, there was no guy on one pole as the street would have been on the side where the downguy needed to be. The power was slacked really low, so the cable line had to be slacked a bit tighter than power or youd have been able to touch it from the ground. To make it even better, the slack span was over a tree, the cable lines a bit taught to keep them OUT of the tree, so you didn’t have the normal 10 foot between cable and a 20,000 volt primary. We were paid by the foot, 14 cents a f—n foot to pull and lash fiber, so we rolled. No time to f–k around with the trees, just hang the bucket over the tree and drag the fiber in line with the span. So, not having that normal distance between primary and cable tv lines due to the slack span, he was probably looking down at the spand and tree while ascending in the bucket and boom. Guy told me it sounded like a cannon went off. He had a piece of s–t swinging bucket, not a self stabilizing bucket on a T40, so he had to keep the bucket completely over the treelimbs, where the other trucks had self stabilizing buckets that could break limbs. They stuck me on the electrocution truck with Ricky’s lineman after the accident and I bumped the bucket control stick with my knee climbing on the rails of the bucket and the bucket took off, I had to wiggle the thing to stop the bucket from moving. It had the thumb press safety which failed at that moment. 14 cent a foot pulling cable aint worth me getting hurt so I got out of the bucket and told the “foreman” I ain’t getting back in the bucket on that truck. He got pissed, docked my pay, and because of me we had a brand spanking new leased truck the following morning. The electrocution truck was probably picked up by the company at an auction for 10 grand because nobody wanted it over that swinging bucket. Piece of s–t.

  2. Jon Willard says:

    I worked for Eastern Technical Communications when this happened. After Ricky was killed, I was sent with another foreman to finish the job. It was a long fiber optic cable pull and they setup right at a tree due to the open area they could setup the pull. It was a slack span, there was no guy on one pole as the street would have been on the side where the downguy needed to be. The power was slacked really low, so the cable line had to be slacked a bit tighter than power or youd have been able to touch it from the ground. To make it even better, the slack span was over a tree, the cable lines a bit taught to keep them OUT of the tree, so you didn’t have the normal 10 foot between cable and a 20,000 volt primary. We were paid by the foot, 14 cents a f—n foot to pull and lash fiber, so we rolled. No time to f–k around with the trees, just hang the bucket over the tree and drag the fiber in line with the span. So, not having that normal distance between primary and cable tv lines due to the slack span, he was probably looking down at the spand and tree while ascending in the bucket and boom. Guy told me it sounded like a cannon went off. He had a piece of s–t swinging bucket, not a self stabilizing bucket on a T40, so he had to keep the bucket completely over the treelimbs, where the other trucks had self stabilizing buckets that could break limbs. They stuck me on the electrocution truck with Ricky’s lineman after the accident and I bumped the bucket control stick with my knee climbing on the rails of the bucket and the bucket took off, I had to wiggle the thing to stop the bucket from moving. It had the thumb press safety which failed at that moment. 14 cent a foot pulling cable aint worth me getting hurt so I got out of the bucket and told the “foreman” I ain’t getting back in the bucket on that truck. He got pissed, docked my pay, and because of me we had a brand spanking new leased truck the following morning. The electrocution truck was probably picked up by the company at an auction for 10 grand because nobody wanted it over that swinging bucket. Piece of s–t. Ricky contacted the line from what I was told. At least my foreman told me they found burns on his arm and back, maybe where it went in and went out.

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