Driver died after digger hit live power cable
AFATHER-OF-TWO died after being electrocuted when a crane on top of the digger he was driving hit a live overhead power line, an inquest heard.
Matthew Drummond, who lived on Linden Avenue, Ramsbottom, backed his digger into the cable at Heaton Farm in Middleton on April 8 last year, the hearing was told. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
An inquest into the tragedy heard that the farmer who desperately tried to save Mr Drummond, 28, suffered a major electric shock himself and ended up in hospital after being thrown backwards.
Mr Drummond’s wife Claire, a GP at Ramsbottom Group Practice, last saw her husband the morning of his death.
During the Heywood hearing she said: “That morning he was absolutely fine. He was his normal happy and chatty self. He was excited about the job because he might get more work from this man. We said we would meet up for lunch but I didn’t hear from him.”
A jury recorded a conclusion of accidental death. Farmer David Heywood told how he first thought the young man was having a heart attack. He said: “I started to walk towards the wagon. I could see him and I thought he was having a heart attack. I said “What’s wrong with you?”
Mr Heywood explained that as he walked towards Mr Drummond, he felt what seemed to be an electric shock. He recalled: “I felt tingling in my arms and realised what it was. I shouted ‘I’m sorry, I can’t help you’ and I was thrown backwards over some rubble.”
The father-of-three ran to his car to get his phone and called the police shortly before 2.30pm. A helicopter, ambulance and the police then arrived.
Mr Heywood was taken to hospital where he stayed overnight.
Asked about whether the electrical lines had appropriate warnings on them, the farmer said: “The power lines were very obvious as we entered the field.”
Mr Drummond was moving sand to the farm which Mr Heywood planned to use to fill in ruts in his fields when the crane came into contact with the overhead wire.
Mr Heywood was in his car at the time checking on his young daughter and only realised Mr Drummond was in danger when he turned around.
A toxicology report showed Mr Drummond had trace levels of the sedative promethazine in his blood. But the report also noted the risk of this having an adverse affect on Mr Drummond was low.
The hearing was told Mr Drummond met his wife Claire in 2007 after he was hired for a job on her parents’ farm. She was attending university but when she returned for good they struck up a relationship.
Dr Drummond told the hearing her husband was a “kind and generous man” who was “fit and healthy” until his death.
She said that Mr Drummond had once driven a vintage tractor from Bury to Torquay for charity.