TWO people sustained injuries when their car collided with low-hanging electrical conductors in Dongwe near Whittlesea.
Eskom said in a statement today that the two were found unconscious by an Eskom operator who was responding to a case of faulty equipment at the same spot.
The victims were taken to Hewu Hospital in the area after sustaining burns when their vehicle drove into the low-hanging conductors.
“It is suspected that another car damaged a pole(s) which keeps the conductors at least five metres above ground level, resulting in the low-hanging conductors.”
Eskom Corporate Occupational Health and Safety Manager, Alex Stramrood, says one of the most common safety challenges in South Africa is low-hanging power lines or cables. “During storms and windy conditions, electricity poles can break and/or fall over, causing live electrical wires to lie on the ground or hang just above ground level. Sometimes, like in this particular instance, motor vehicles collide with electricity poles, causing wires to hang low, and thereby increasing the risk of people being electrocuted.
“If your car collides with an electricity pole or low-hanging cables, it’s almost always best to stay in your car. If a wire is touching the outside of the vehicle, your vehicle is the safest place for you to be. The vehicle acts as a path for the electrical current to travel through to reach the ground, or it is insulated by means of the tyres. If you are in the vehicle you are safe, but if you get out, you could be electrocuted. If you can, warn others to stay away from the vehicle and call the local authorities or Eskom so that the power lines can be switched off first.”
Stramrood reiterated Eskom’s advice for people to drive carefully and to always avoid making any type of contact with the electrical network or apparatus. “Furthermore we urge people to stay away from damaged electrical poles, fallen trees or broken branches near power lines, and to not attempt to remove them. Instead, they should contact Eskom to dispatch authorised personnel to attend to the problem, and isolate the power in the area.”