Shocking power pole death prompts Energex warning

ONLOOKERS who saw a ute crash into a power pole killing the driver and taking out power in two suburbs, have been praised for their actions.

The 43-year-old old Holmview man, the sole occupant, died at the scene after the ute flipped on its side and got tangled in live powerlines.

Quick-thinking staff at a Caltex service station at Waterford West yelled out to passers not to touch the ute, which crashed through two power boxes and a power pole before knocking out traffic lights at the intersection of Kingston Rd and Allora St.

Their actions saved lives, according to Energex Community Safety Manager Aaron Smith who has issued a warning to motorists after an alarming spike in power pole collisions.

Onlooker Robyn Wright said staff at a petrol station were still recovering from the April 25 crash and recalled them yelling to passers not to touch the crashed ute

Those first at the scene were told not to touch the ute as there were live wires.
Those first at the scene were told not to touch the ute as there were live wires.

"People were left standing helplessly looking at the crashed ute but thank goodness there were some quick-thinking people telling everyone not to touch the ute.

"We couldn't do anything until the power was turned off and it was devastating for the staff at the service station who watched it all unfold but could not act."

Staff at the service station yelled to people not to touch the car.
Staff at the service station yelled to people not to touch the car.

Power to Waterford West, Holmview and parts of Loganlea was turned off for six hours while Energex staff worked to fix the lights and untangle the ute and remove the man's body.

Energex said the accident took out power to 1173 customers for up to six hours and brought down both 11,000 and 33,000 volt powerlines after snapping the pole in two.

Mr Smith said it was imperative for drivers and passengers to stay in the car after a crash if there were live wires.

He said if a person touched the ground while also touching the live car, they would die immediately.

More than 350 cars have crashed into power poles, pillar boxes and lines in Queensland this year.

"They have ranged from tragic motor vehicle crashes to live wires left exposed after grass slashers ripped open pillar boxes," Mr Smith said.

"There have been live lines brought down across cars, trucks and tractors, as well as dangerous instances of damage to pillar boxes from machinery and vehicles.

"Any one of these situations could have resulted in further tragedy."

Many of the people in the vehicles knew to call triple-0 and stayed inside until Energex crew turned off the power so emergency responders could rescue any injured.




Energex crew at the scene.
Energex crew at the scene.

Logan was one of the top ranked areas for power pole hits with other incidents at Boronia Heights and Kingston so far this year.

Across the southeast there were nearly 60 collisions with power poles at Burpengary, Burleigh Waters, Wamuran, Coopers Plains, Caloundra, Narangba, Nudgee, and Gaythorne.

But cars were not the only vehicles crashing - more than 130 heavy vehicles also hit poles, pillars, lines and streetlights.

Mr Smith said there were two cases in two days in South West Queensland where tractors became wedged between high-voltage conductors.

A Far North Queensland driver received an electric shock when he tried to exit his car after colliding with a pillar.

"After an accident, the safest place is almost always inside the vehicle, as there's a probability the outside could be live," he said.

"In the unlikely event that a vehicle catches fire, jump from it being very careful not to touch the car and ground at the same time, then hop or shuffle away for at least 10m making sure that both feet remain together and in contact with the ground at all times."

He said bystanders also needed to be extremely cautious about how they could help at a crash scene.

"If there's any possibility electrical equipment is involved, stay at least 10 metres away - it's not just the vehicle that can be live, but also the ground around it.

"Call triple-0, and our crews and emergency personnel will be there ASAP."


Originally published as Shocking power pole death prompts Energex warning