‘Downed power lines may have been cut’, says Sarawak Energy on Tatau incident

The van that caught fire.

KUCHING, Oct 3: Sarawak Energy has launched an investigation over the cause of the fallen lines in Tatau, Bintulu, where a school van driver and her son suffered injuries after their vehicle hit the power line.

According to the state energy development company, the investigation team led by Electrical Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak, together with Sarawak Energy personnel, is currently investigating all possible angles over the cause of the fallen lines.

“Sarawak Energy deeply regrets the unfortunate incident involving a van driver and a child at the Pan Borneo Highway work site in Tatau and has immediately launched a thorough investigation into the cause of the fallen lines.

“Initial investigations showed that the earthing cables was cut, believed to be stolen by cable thieves resulting in the failure of the safety measures, leaving the line energised during the incident,” Sarawak Energy said in a statement.

The utility company added that the incident, on Tuesday (Oct 1), also led to the loss of supply to the whole of Tatau town, including Tatau Clinic from 7am. Supply to Tatau Town was restored at 9am, while the Tatau Clinic was restored at 1pm.

“Sarawak Energy would like to advise the public to stay clear, at least 5m or 15 feet away from any fallen lines and always assume every fallen power line is energised, and to alert Sarawak Energy immediately for assistance at 1300 88 3111.

“Fallen line creates a voltage change on the ground surface, and movements such as walking or running near the lines could cause electrocution as electricity can travel through the body,” the statement continued.

Sarawak Energy said in the event of fallen lines on vehicles, public are advised to remain inside the vehicle until help arrives and alert others to keep clear and not to touch the vehicle.

“If one must leave the vehicle due to other dangers such as fire, jump away from the vehicle with both feet on the ground at the same time. Always continue to keep your feet together on the ground by jumping away at least 10m from the site.”

Sarawak Energy added that the organisation prioritises safety and urged third-party contractors to take extra precautions when working near power lines to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.

On Tuesday’s incident, a woman suffered serious burns, while her 11-year-old son who was in the same van, suffered minor injuries when their vehicle hit the power line that had fallen onto ground.

The van caught fire but was put out by members of the public using three extinguishers.

The 55-year-old woman was transporting five children including her son to school, when the incident happened at around 6.45am at the junction of Taman Lee Cheng. The four other children were unhurt. — DayakDaily