A 25-year-old electrical worker was in serious condition at the Francis Scott Key burn center in Baltimore after he touched a newly energized 115,000-volt power line in Finksburg yesterday afternoon.
The worker, who was not immediately identified, was trapped on the line about 50 feet above the ground and had to be rescued by fellow workers of Henkels & McCoy, a subcontractor for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.
They lowered him from the 75-foot pole to the ground, where he was placed in a wire "Stokes basket" -- a wire enclosure used to carry injured people over rough terrain -- and carried about 200 feet down a steep hill to a waiting ambulance.
The man, who remained conscious during the rescue, was taken by ambulance to where a state police MedEvac helicopter could land and take him to the burn unit.
Micki Smith, public relations officer for Carroll County, said the man was working on an old 33,000-volt line on a BG&E pole near Patapsco and Sandymount roads about 3:30 p.m.
He came into contact with the new line nearby and suffered third-degree burns over 50 percent to 70 percent of his body, particularly his left side and upper body, Ms. Smith said.
Henkels & McCoy is upgrading to 115,000 volts from 33,000 volts the power transmission line extending from Finksburg to Westminster, a nine-mile, $4.5 million project, a spokesman for the utility said.
The upgrading is expected to be completed in December.
A spokeswoman for BG&E said all of the workers for the subcontractor had been notified that the new line would be energized yesterday for testing.
Fellow workers told fire officials that the victim had been working on the old line when he apparently touched the new line, sending high voltage through his body.
Many customers in Westminster, about seven miles away, experienced a brief power outage about the time as the accident.
Peggy Malloy, a spokeswoman for BG&E, said the momentary outage covered a stretch of about nine miles from Finksburg to Westminster.
While fire and rescue workers were stabilizing the victim and preparing to bring him down the steep slope, a 14-year-old boy, one of a half-dozen youths who had climbed a rock formation to get a better look at the rescue operation, fell about 30 feet, injuring his head and face.
He was taken to Carroll County General Hospital for treatment in a second ambulance called to the scene. His bicycle was left at the foot of the cliff.