Man dies as truck hits 11,000 volt power cable

Officials and safety workers examine the scene of the tragedy at Kirknewton in West Lothian. Picture: Neil Hanna

Officials and safety workers examine the scene of the tragedy at Kirknewton in West Lothian. Picture: Neil Hanna

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A YOUNG farm worker was killed instantly when trying to get out of his tipper truck after driving it into an 11,000-volt cable.

It is understood the truck’s tipper bed was up when it collided with the cable during the incident, at around 5.40pm on Wednesday, at Humbie Holdings Farm, Kirknewton.

The farm worker – thought to be a 27-year-old Romanian national who had been in the UK for only a matter of days – initially appeared unhurt.

But he lost his life when trying to open the door of the truck’s cab while the tipper was still in contact with the cable.

It is not known if the worker was aware of the mortal danger he was in as he attempted to leave the vehicle.

Police and the Health and Safety Executive have launched a major investigation – as sources suggested it was “not the first” incident involving power lines at the site.

The yard is used by a construction firm to store piping, concrete blocks, rubble, tyres and plant machinery.

An ambulance was called to the scene of the incident immediately after it happened, with the police and fire brigade following.

ScottishPower engineers isolated the supply to the cables that the tipper crashed into as power was still flowing through them when emergency services arrived. The man was found on the ground, close to the truck, where paramedics worked to save him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

One local resident, who asked not to be named, said: “This is the third time our power has been off after the power lines there have been hit. They have been filling in the land using rubble. It is a terrible tragedy.”

A source close to the investigation added: “It appears they have been using rubble from other sites to fill in a gully close to the line. The tipper has struck the line at the low point between two poles that are of different heights. There is evidence on the cables that these have been broken before and had to be repaired.”

The Humbie Holdings yard is neighboured by the Edinburgh Cyrenians Farm Community, a social enterprise which also provides accommodation for vulnerable young people, many of whom have homeless backgrounds.

Ewan Aitken, the charity’s chief executive, said: “I know that they are certainly shaken up. It reminds you of the realities of farm life.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in West Lothian were called to Humbie Holdings farm near Kirknewton at around 5.50pm on Wednesday, June 3, following the sudden death of a 27-year-old man. Officers and the Scottish Ambulance Services attended. however, despite the best efforts of paramedics, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We received a call to an address in the Kirknewton area at around 5.45pm. Two ambulances, a paramedic response car, a specialist operations resource team and a manager attended.”