Contact with power lines is extremely dangerous and can be fatal. Electrical power-line installers, cable TV installers, roofers, repairers and others who work far above the ground are at risk to electrocution from contact with high-voltage power lines. Pruning trees next to power lines can also be dangerous. If a worker loses focus while working near a power line, it may result in a fatal accident.
A reminder of the dangers of power lines came unexpectedly at Carnival festivities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Daniel “Fantom” Darinus, the singer from the Haitian hip-hop group Barikad Crew, was jolted by an overhead power line as the float he was on passed below it, reported the Miami Herald (2.18.15).
Darinus told the Miami Herald that he had been “distracted and had forgotten he needed to clear a final live wire on the parade route,” He said he knew there were three power lines but he remembered to only bend down for two. “Someone was talking to me and I forgot about the line,” he said.
Barikad Crew had been on the parade route for almost five hours performing for fans when Darinus, standing on the top of a high speaker, approached the third power line that ten other floats had cleared with no problems, reported the Miami Herald.
The run-in with the power line immediately set off a flashing volt of electricity. This caused chaos. People stampeded, leaving 18 people dead and 76 injured.
The electrical shock knocked Darinus unconscious. The singer suffered injuries to his head and right hand, and was left with visible burn marks on his face.
According to the Miami Herald, low-hanging power lines have “historically” been a problem in Haiti. Traditionally, musicians on the floats are accompanied by people responsible for moving the power lines with a wooden Y-shaped stick.
Darinus had only one person on his float tasked with lifting dangling power lines rather than the usual two people. He was in the back of the float at the time of the accident.
In Brazil, three people died when they were electrocuted while standing atop a Carnival float that hit a power line on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Hopefully, these accidents will remind workers to follow all safety precautions when working near high power lines.
The Miami Herald story cited is “Haiti begins mourning period following Carnival tragedy; singer thankful to be alive.”