Names Released of Men Killed in Power Line Fall 8/5/13
CBS 7 News
Two workers have fallen to their deaths when a cable suspending them from a helicopter hit a power line they were inspecting, according to eyewitnesses.
It happened around 9 a.m. near CR 4200 and CR 4501.
The men, 26-year-old David Edward Oliveira of Turlock, California and 27-year-old Christopher Geoffrey Breed of Moscow, Idaho, were working on a new Wind Energy Transmission Texas (WETT) transmission line.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman says the helicopter was able to land safely, but the pilot was transported to the hospital with unknown conditions.
A frayed cord connected to a helicopter could be a key piece of evidence to the investigation. Just yards away yellow tape wrapped around the area where the two men fell to their death.
“The lines are an average of 230 feet,” said Martin County Sheriff Woodward.
Martin County Investigators say they were tethered to the helicopter working on power lines that transfer windmill energy, when the cord snapped.
“There was a failure with the tether and two individuals were killed,” Woodward said.
Aerial power line inspections and maintenance is an uncommon sight. According to the company, Haverfield Aviation, they are one of the few operations that do this in the nation.
Many West Texans passing by recorded the aerial practice on their phones. Ishmael Gamboa an oilfield worker in the area was one of them.
He recorded from the same location of the accident in Martin County just a week before the incident.
"I saw it on the news and could help but think these were the guys, this was the helicopter," Gamboa said.
Haverfield Aviation employees tell CBS 7 they are mourning the loss of two great coworkers who were very skilled at what they do. Sheriff Woodward says the company flew to each home Monday to personally notify the families.