Buggy ride brings down Midhurst power lines

CHILDREN who accidentally brought down two 11,000-volt overhead power lines near Midhurst escaped without injury.

The two youngsters were driving a kite-powered buggy in a field when the incident happened in windy conditions.

Southern Electric Power Distribution’s West Sussex operations manager, Sue Agate, said they were ‘extremely lucky’ to have escaped unscathed. An adult nearby at the time of the incident warned them not to touch the live cables.

She said: “We were particularly alarmed recently when we were called to a location near Midhurst following a power cut. It transpired two youngsters had taken a kite-powered buggy into a field and were powering along, helped by a strong breeze, too late to notice the overhead lines above them.

“Their kite got caught and pulled down two 11,000 volt overhead lines, which caused the electricity to trip, and left the children in a very dangerous situation in the field. “Fortunately in this case, an adult was nearby and the children were given the correct instruction to stand well back from the fallen lines – which were still live - and not attempt to go past them until we were called and were able make them safe. These youngsters were extremely lucky to emerge unscathed.”

The danger could not be overstated, she warned. It was essential to look around before deciding to operate high-flying objects.

“This applies not just to these wind-powered buggies but also to conventional kites and model aeroplanes. Do not go into fields where there are overhead wires, especially in windy conditions.”

Other precautions include not allowing children to climb trees near power lines, and never attempting to retrieve any object stuck in a power line. The company says if something does come into contact with a power line or damage is seen, call its 24-hour emergency line on 0800 072 7282.