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2 UK Men Electrocuted to Death by 11,000 Volts

MIDDLEWICH, UNITED KINGDOM – Two labourers were electrocuted to death by 11,000 volts in Middlewich after a lorry they were stood behind tipped up and struck overhead cables.

Warrington Coroner’s Court heard how Lornford Construction employees Paul Whalley, aged 45, and Mark Bennett, aged 41, had been laying tarmac for new houses on Henry Street in Crewe on November 20 of last year.

The construction workers, along with lorry driver George Thompson, decided to dump the excess tarmac at a caravan site in Booth Lane, the court heard.

When they arrived at the Three Oaks Caravan Park, Mr Bennett, of Crewe Road, Winterley and Mr Whalley, of Newall Avenue, Sandbach helped direct the truck as it began to tip its load.

However, the truck was parked under the 11,000 volt cables, owned by Scottish Power, and as the tipping began Mr Thompson heard ‘a bang like a gunshot’.

Coroner Dr Nicholas Rheinberg said: “The lorry driver wasn’t familiar with the location so Mr Bennett and Mr Whalley agreed to drive there.

“They were directing the lorry back and it was raised to lower the tarmac to the ground.

“They heard a bang and the next thing the driver knew was that the two men were lying on the ground.”

The contract haulier immediately lowered the tipper but it was too late. Both men had collapsed at the rear of the lorry having been electrocuted.

Landowner Thomas Price and Mr Thompson, who was saved by the rubber on the vehicle’s tyres, tried to treat the pair but they later died at Leighton hospital after suffering massive heart attacks.

The jury recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Mr Bennett’s partner Gillian Robinson recalled to the court how he used to walk into their Crewe Road property wearing his tarmac boots.

Brian Whalley, father to Paul, said his son enjoyed his work.

Cause of death was recorded as electrocution by Dr Rheinberg. A Health and Safety investigation remains open into the accident.

Story via Middlewich Guardian

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