Tributes have been paid to a grandfather who died after being electrocuted in a field on the outskirts of Chester.
The 54-year-old, known to friends as Pudgie Evans, had been in the process of obtaining scrap metal on land belonging to Holme Farm on Marsh Lane in Ince at lunchtime on Saturday.
He accidentally struck an overhead power cable with the high crane he was operating, giving him a severe electric shock and leaving about 100 homes in Ince without power for six hours.
Farmer John Willis, a partner at Holme Farm, said the tragedy has left him and all staff at the farm ‘lost for words’, and now hopes to warn other farmers about the potential dangers of overhead cables.
He said: “This was such a tragic, tragic accident. I knew Pudgie as a local scrap dealer. On Saturday he came here and was operating high lifting equipment to access some scrap material but tragically as he was doing so, he struck an overhead electric cable.
“As a farm we complied with Health and Safety regulations and there are many sufficient warnings on the farm about the dangers of the overhead electric cables.”
Mr Willis said that he hoped some good could come out of the tragedy, by highlighting, particularly to other farmers, the importance of taking care in the proximity of electric cables.
“I think that after this awful accident, there are going to have to be meetings with ScottishPower to discuss whether any changes could be made to prevent accidents like this from happening in the future – whether that might be moving overhead cables to safer positions, or other changes,” he said.
“I do think other farmers do need to be aware of these kinds of dangers but it is a shame something like this has had to happen.
“In the meantime, if the situation can highlight the need to be cautious and take care when it comes to cables, I think that’s very important.
“Pudgie was just a very nice chap, he was a hardworking family man who I know had a close family, including some grandchildren. As a farm, we want to pay tribute to him in the best way we can. We are just so sorry this has happened.”
A Cheshire police spokesperson said: “At 1.19pm on the afternoon of Saturday, January 17, police were called to land belonging to a farm on Marsh Lane, Ince to a report of a man having suffered a severe electric shock.
“Early enquiries suggest that the man, accompanied by a friend, was using a mobile crane to load scrap metal onto the back of a truck. The man, who is 54 years of age and from the Elton area, was doing this with the landowner’s permission.
“It is believed the crane caught an overhead power cable during the activity, causing the man to suffer a severe electric shock. His friend was unharmed.
“The man was taken by ambulance to the Countess of Chester Hospital, but sadly died shortly afterwards, despite the efforts of medical staff. His next of kin are aware.
“As a result of the incident, power to around 100 homes in the Ince area was lost. The Health and Safety Executive have been informed.”
A spokesperson for the HSE had not responded to The Pioneer at time of press.