Overhead power lines© FLPA/Rex Shutterstock

A cool-headed tractor driver has avoided serious injury after his vehicle brought down high-voltage power lines, trapping him in the cab.

The tractor hit the overhead lines near the village of Charminster, in Dorset, at 3pm on Saturday (10 October).

See also: Take care working under power lines

Rather than panic and attempt to get out of the cab, the driver calmly followed advice to stay inside and summon help from the emergency services.

Police arrived shortly after the incident and closed the main A352 between Piddlehinton and Charminster while electricity company engineers and firefighters worked to free the trapped driver.

The rescue took almost two hours with the driver freed from the entangled tractor at about 5pm, according to Dorset Fire and Rescue.

About 20 nearby properties were left without power until shortly after midnight on Sunday morning while repair work was carried out on the damaged line.

A spokesman for Southern Electric said the priority was getting the person out of the cab of the tractor safely before engineers could begin to repair lines.

He added that the tractor driver had shown presence of mind and done exactly the right thing in the circumstances by staying put.

What to do if you hit a cable

  • If you do hit a cable, keep calm.
  • Ring the power company or emergency services from the cab, or signal someone else to do so. It’s a good idea to display emergency numbers in the cab and remind operators to carry mobile phones.
  • Try to drive clear of the power lines if you can.
  • Leaving the cab should be a last resort.
  • If you have to leave the cab, jump clear of the machine with your feet together without touching the machine and the ground at the same time, and then hop to a safe distance. Power dissipates in concentric circles of diminishing voltage out to about 10m – the voltage difference will travel through you if you’re standing in two separate zones.
  • Never earth the circuit by touching the machine and the ground at the same time. People are far better conductors of electricity than four rubber tyres. Don’t rely on rubber boots for protection, either – they can be destroyed by high voltage.
  • Stay clear until the owner of the power line has confirmed that it has been de-energised and made safe – power may be reconnected automatically without warning.
  • The danger has not necessarily passed because the flashing and fizzing has stopped – assume wires are still alive.