Man dies from electric shock

A MAN was killed after receiving a fatal electric shock while working at a power substation in Burwell.

The man, who has been named as 41-year-old Stephen Kirkup, from Newcastle, fell from a cherry picker at the substation in New Hall Farm, Burwell, on Monday (December 11) and received a high voltage shock which stopped his heart.

It is not yet clear whether the shock caused him to fall or whether he fell before receiving the shock but a post mortem examination, held on Tuesday (December 12) has determined the cause of death as cardiac arrhythmia and electric shock.

Dr James French, who works for emergency doctors Magpas, arrived on the scene with a paramedic via a police support helicopter.

Due to the large numbers of power lines, the helicopter had to circle a number of times before they were able to land, at which point Dr French and paramedic Andy Bates were escorted to Mr Kirkup.

Dr French told the Journal: "There was a chap lying on the floor who had obviously been electrocuted.

"Despite what we did for 40 minutes, giving him drugs, putting a tube in his lungs and using the defibrillator, unfortunately we weren't able to do anything for him.

"Continuing was literally futile because the readings we were getting were showing that he had died."

Dr French said he had previously treated a man who received an electric shock within the home and survived but it was the first time he had seen a patient who had received such a large voltage of electricity.

Police were called to the scene but the investigation into the incident will be carried out by the Health and Safety Executive, which has been informed.

A spokesman for the National Grid said: "The death is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

"We and our contractor will co-operate fully with any subsequent investigations and we will undertake our own thorough internal inquiry.

Mr Kirkup was employed by Siemens TD Ltd and was working for the National Grid when the accident happened.

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned on Wednesday (December 13).