A California man has survived an almost unimaginable series of tragedies this week. According to KTVU in North Bay, California, an unidentified man climbed a 100-foot-high voltage transmission tower that sits along a popular walking path in Santa Rosa on August 8, 2017. A witness to the tragedy, Kevin Pickering, was near the area when the accident occurred:
“I heard this boom and about a minute later, I heard the screams.”
A second witness was also alerted by the sound of the explosion.
“He was screaming, and you could see it was like he was trying to get himself off the lines. At first, he was unconscious, then he came to, and it looked like he was getting shocked some more.”
An electrician working by the site told reporters:
“His clothes and his hair were on fire. I saw him get two, three jolts. His body was gyrating. Then he fell. He hit the first rung on the tower and then he started cartwheeling.”
The lines the man met carry over 115,000 volts of electricity. Ultimately contact with the lines was broken and the man fell over 80 feet to the ground. Pickering explained:
“I ran to the fence, and he dropped on the ground right in front of me.”
Pickering ran to the man and pulled him off the grass.
“I was hesitant to move him because of the bad fall he just took but I wanted to get him out of harm’s way.”
The man survived the unimaginable electrical shock, the 80-foot fall, and the fire. He was taken to U.C. Davis Medical Center where he is being treated for burns.
The area around the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) transmission tower is protected with barbed wire but on the side facing the walking path, the fences are lower. Climbing the tower seems to be a popular pastime in the area. At least three people have scaled the tower this year.
Authorities say they have been unable to determine why the man climbed atop the tower. His fall caused a grass fire on the ground underneath the tower and contact with the 115-kv line caused a power outage in the area.