Three die after crane strikes overhead power line

A crane operator and two co-workers were electrocuted after a crane struck an overhead power line at a concrete plant in Telford, Penn., on Thursday.

According to observers, the crane was backing up when it hit a 7,200-volt electrical line. Two co-workers saw the operator hurled from the cab and rushed to help. As one rescuer began CPR, the second rescuer touched the crane, sending a fatal volt through all three men.

“He put his hand on his shoulder, and he steadied himself on the crane, and that’s when they all got it,” Telford Police Chief Douglas Bickel told the Associated Press.

According to George Strickland, general manager of the JDM materials plant, other co-workers stood by until current to the live wire was shut off. Before the power was shut down, the crane became so hot with electricity that it caught fire. Hours after the accident, the crane was still a smoking ruin, with the wire still draped over its boom.

Authorities did not immediately release the victims’ names. Strickland told AP the men worked for a company that was demolishing an old building at the plant.