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GUAM: Fruitpicker Electrocuted

Chalan Pago, Guam:  A man was electrocuted yesterday while picking breadfruit with a fruit picker in Chalan Pago, authorities said. The man, in his 20s, was found dead, high in a tree yesterday afternoon, said Lt. Ed Artero, Guam Fire Department spokesman. The man, identified by his relatives only as “Rocky,” was visiting Guam on his way to Yap, said his nephew, Cooljay Kaselel. Police have not released the man’s name.

The homemade fruit picker the man was using came into contact with a power line, electrocuting him, Artero said. He was slung upside-down from his legs on a branch about 30 feet in the air when his body was retrieved. Several emergency responders and Guam Power Authority officials craned their necks skyward from the ground, watching as a firefighter pried the man’s body from a tree. The tree, which was surrounded by power lines, was in a jungle thicket just off of Chalan Okso, a narrow residential road. Some of the man’s relatives and neighbors watched silently as officials worked. The firefighter used a GPA bucket truck, which is used to repair power lines, to reach the man. The emergency responder had to hack away branches to safely remove the body. The power authority shut down lines in the area before the operation.

A 911 call was received at 3:02 p.m., Artero said. Emergency responders were on the scene 40 minutes later. The man was staying with relatives on Guam after arriving from the mainland, said Kaselel. He arrived here this summer. Ordot-Chalan Pago Mayor Jesse Gogue, who was at the scene, said he thought the man was trying to get the hard-to-reach fruit before moving on to easier pickings. It appeared as though the man had climbed barefoot up the tree, which was on his uncle’s property, the mayor said.

Many of the trees in the area were filled with breadfruit, and some were far from the power lines. “I understand the need to pick fruits and try to feed your family,” said Gogue. But, he added, “It’s a hell of a risk to take.” In June 2011, a man was electrocuted while picking fruit with a metal pole in Mangilao, according to Pacific Daily News files. The man’s metal pole is believed to have touched nearby power lines that ran near the tree.

Story via quampdm.com

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