Tractor driver in power cable drama

A farm worker had a miraculous escape after 11,000 volts flowed through his tractor after bringing down overhead power lines at a south Norfolk farm.The driver was amazingly able to walk away unscathed after preventing himself from being electrocuted by sitting calmly in his cab - despite it being on fire - following the accident in a field near Bungay.

A farm worker had a miraculous escape after 11,000 volts flowed through his tractor after bringing down overhead power lines at a south Norfolk farm.

The driver was amazingly able to walk away unscathed after preventing himself from being electrocuted by sitting calmly in his cab - despite it being on fire - following the accident in a field near Bungay.

Emergency services rushed to Bedingham Hall Farm, Hall Road, Bedingham, but could only look on helpless, after the John Deere tractor hit an electricity pole, bringing live overhead power lines crashing down.

Forty minutes later, the driver was able to walk from his cab, shaken but unharmed, after the potentially lethal 11,000 volt electricity cables that had trapped him in the vehicle were shut down.


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The lucky escape serves as another reminder of the dangers involved in working in the agricultural industry, which came just a week after a farm worker driving a tractor and trailer died after coming into contact with a power line in the west of the county.

The operators of Bedingham Hall Farm last night said there was nothing more they could have done to prevent the collision that took place at about 2pm on Thursday.

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John Barrett, regional business manager for Sentry Farms, said the company's emergency procedures had worked flawlessly and praised the response of the emergency services and electricity company EDF Energy.

'All the drivers have an emergency action plan in the vehicles and tells them what to do, which is to sit still and call the relevant people, which was EDF Energy, who came and turned the power off. He was a little shaken, but nothing worse,' he said.

Firefighters from Bungay, Long Stratton, Loddon, and Norwich were called to the farm after a small fire broke out in the tractor following the accident, which was quickly extinguished.

The driver, who has not been named, was cultivating oil seed rape stubble when the incident happened and returned to his duties a day later. The John Deere tractor suffered some electrical damage, but is set to be repaired by today.

Mr Barrett added: 'They have booklets with all the farms where they work with field maps and details of the overhead power cables and footpaths. There was nothing else we could have done. It was an accident; it happens. We are open to suggestions, but we feel we are doing all we can.'

'He was obviously shaken, but we are keeping a close eye on him and he was not injured. The emergency services were very efficient and EDF were fantastic and very quick.'

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said they were aware of the collision and would be making enquiries to establish whether a formal investigation was necessary.

An EDF Energy spokesman added: 'Power supplies were interrupted to 593 customers at 1.48pm on Thursday, when overhead cables at Bedingham Hall Farm were damaged after a vehicle hit a pole. Power was automatically isolated and we advised the driver to stay in his vehicle. Staff attended and the driver left the cab safely.'

Electricity was returned to all the affected households by 8.30pm on Thursday.

The Bedingham drama follows the death of Grzegorz Pieton, 26, who died when his tractor and trailer came into contact with a 11,000 volt electricity cable at Terrington St Clement, near King's Lynn, on Thursday July 15. A 61-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and has since been released on bail.

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