Man suffers serious burns while attempting to recover drone

Device became caught in 10,000-volt power line in south Dublin park

A man who was electrocuted while trying to retrieve a drone from an overhead electrical wire is recovering in hospital.

Dublin Fire Brigade said the individual suffered serious burns from a 10,000-volt electricity line in Cabinteely Park, south Dublin. Emergency services from Dún Laoghaire and Loughlinstown attended the scene.

Power supply was cut off in Cabinteely and the surrounding area, leaving some 1,000 customers without supply for under an hour.

Following the incident, ESB Networks urged the public to “keep well clear of overhead electricity lines”, advising a minimum safe distance of three metres. “Never, ever, try to intervene to recover anything that is in contact with electricity wires, or near them, because electricity can jump gaps,” an ESB statement said.

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A voltage as low as 50 volts can stop the heart, prevent breathing and cause muscle spasms in humans. When an electrical current passes through the body it heats the tissue along the current flow. Even if there are no visible burns of the skin, the shock may have caused internal damage to organs and tissues.

Deep burns often require major surgery and can cause permanent injuries. In some cases, an electric shock will induce painful muscle spasms strong enough to break bones or dislocate joints.

ESB Networks said there has been a “very small number of incidents” where drones have flown into electricity lines, adding it is company policy to investigate all incidents and repair any damage immediately.

ESB advised individuals never to fly drones near overhead electricity lines. The company said: “It is the same advice we have always given for similar leisure pursuits like fishing and flying kites.

“If something happens or you see something unusual, stay clear and immediately call the ESB Networks emergency number: 1850 372 999.”

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter