One Friday afternoon before a long weekend, on a full moon, there was a call of a MVA, man trapped in a vehicle. Upon arrival, there was a truck with a cab about twelve feet in the air.
The HIAB (Knuckle Boom) boom had not been stored and was on a forty-five-degree angle wedged under a large telephone cable. The driver was stuck in the cab, afraid to get out or try to move!
Our responder arrived, followed by police, fire, and EMS. Behind the boom truck was a stretch of wires and pole tops. The three-phase circuit tripped out right when the truck wedged under the intersection wires.
The first thing was to rescue the driver, after controlling the electrical hazards. Not easy to do with the truck stalled out that far up. A boom truck was used to hold the truck up while a ladder was raised to rescue the driver. Next, the plan was to let the air out of the tires and slowly lower the HIAB truck down. This gave the truck enough slack to slowly roll backwards, relieving the telephone tension, which was being held by a telephone boom truck. The rescue plan worked, and the HIAB was turned on and stored in the away position.
Of course, the roads were closed, and an assessment of damage was done. 28 crossing service pole tops were snapped off over six blocks and there were telephone and cable and services everywhere. Nobody was injured but it was going to be all hands-on deck to get the services back together!
These calls on Fridays cause divorces for linemen, as their lives and families are disrupted! Nobody enjoys cleaning up a mess like that and it takes hours to fix, even temporarily!
The interview with the truck driver was interesting. Sober. He said, “I wondered what was causing the truck to shake and I kept seeing camera-like flashes in my mirrors”. He had put away the outriggers and was in a hurry to get home. Forgot to put away the boom first!
The insurance claim took several years to finish, and the utilities and companies eventually collected the costs.
It never ceases to amaze me how linemen respond to the call for duty! There is never enough money to replace those hours lost with our families. And not enough recognition for the efforts that linemen make.
Bruce Masse – Trouble Technician