A Far North man has died after climbing a power pole to an
11,000 Volt transformer and being electrocuted.
The incident, which happened at 7.20pm on Sunday, also left
his girlfriend with burns after she tried to pull him down.
Power was cut to 32 North Hokianga households but is expected
to be restored later today.
Emergency services responded to what they initially thought
was a car crash on West Coast Rd near Motukaraka, just west
of Kohukohu. When they arrived they discovered a young man
had climbed a power pole and been electrocuted.
It is understood he had been driving with his girlfriend when
the pair had an argument. He stopped the car and climbed a
double power pole to a raised platform housing a transformer.
Police, St John Ambulance and firefighters from Kohukohu and
Kaitaia brigades responded, stopping traffic and keeping
people away until lines company Top Energy was able to
disconnect the power. Volunteer firefighters removed the
man's body about 11pm while a kaumatua blessed the scene.
Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw confirmed that the
man died after climbing the pole and touching live
"Our condolences and thoughts during this terrible time go to
the family of the person who died," he said.
The company's first priority was to work with police and
firefighters to make the scene safe. It would continue to
help police and Energy Safety, a government safety regulator,
with their enquiries.
Police were expected to hand the site back to Top Energy last
night and replacement equipment was due to arrive today.
Mr Shaw said Top Energy would conduct its own internal
Fire Service volunteer support officer Colin Kitchen said the
incident was " traumatic" for firefighters and bystanders.
The volunteers were trained to deal with distressing
- By Peter de Graaf of the Northern Advocate