Friday, July 8, 2011

View From The Street - An Electrifying Experience

A couple of days ago, while power walking The Loop at Wrightsville Beach, I noticed the Ocean Rescue Trucks heading AWAY from the beach at full speed with lights flashing and sirens glaring.  And that was followed up by most of the fire department.  

Now Wrightsville Beach, NC isn't all that big and since they were headed in the direction of the mainland I knew they weren't going far, in fact my instincts said the destination must be the boat ramp. What the heck, I figured I might as well head on over myself, the more miles I put in the merrier!

Sure enough they were all parked at the boat ramp, surrounding a sailboat on a trailer.  Obviously it had just been pulled out of the water and it was quite apparent what the problem was - the mast was leaning on the power lines that ran parallel to the parking lot.  Wow!  

One of the boaters was sitting on the bow, with the EMS guys instructing him not to move, as the entire boat was now part of a 10,000 volt circuit.  (Having worked for a power company I knew the dangers of trying to evacuate a vehicle that was in contact with downed power line, so I knew full well the hazardous situation this guy was in.)
Within minutes the Power Company arrived.  They quickly assessed the situation and de-energized the lines, then used a bucket truck to go up and remove the mast from the power lines.  The EMS guys then helped the guy on the boat down to the ground and onto a stretcher.  He seemed fine and as the ambulance left for the hospital they were not running the siren, so hopefully he didn't suffer any injuries.

Exercise and drama! You never know what you will see when you hit the street.

One question though - who came up with the brilliant idea to run high voltage lines parallel so close to where boats are being pulled out of the water and prepared for trailering?  As a power boater, I never paid much attention, but after this incident  I'm seeing things in a totally different light.  These guys are real lucky they weren't killed!

You can read more about the incident in an article from Lumina News.

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