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Father-of-two killed after backing digger into overhead cable on farm

A father-of-two died after being electrocuted when the digger he was driving hit a live overheard power line, an inquest was told.

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Matthew Drummond (PIC: GMP)
Matthew Drummond (PIC: GMP)
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Farmer, 28, killed after backing digger into overhead cable on farm #FarmSafety

Matthew Drummond, 28, was killed after he backed the vehicle into the cable at Heaton Farm in Middleton on April 8 last year.

 

Mr Drummond was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

The farmer who desperately tried to save Mr Drummond suffered a major electric shock himself and ended up in hospital after being thrown backwards.

 

Mr Drummond’s wife Claire last saw her husband on the morning of his death.

 

During the hearing she said: “That morning he was absolutely fine. He was his normal happy and chatty self. He was excited about the job because he might get more work from this man. We said we would meet up for lunch but I didn’t hear from him.”

 

Farmer David Heywood first thought the young man was having a heart attack.

 

He said: “I started to walk towards the wagon. I could see him and I thought he was having a heart attack. I said “What’s wrong with you?


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"I felt tingling in my arms and realised what it was. I shouted ‘I’m sorry, I can’t help you’ and I was thrown backwards over some rubble.”

 

The father-of-three ran to his car to look for his phone. He found it inside his coat and called the police shortly before 2.30pm.

 

A helicopter, ambulance and the police then arrived.

 

Mr Heywood was taken to hospital where he stayed overnight.

 

He said: “I knew by the time I’d left the farm that Mr Drummond had died.”

 

Asked about whether the electrical lines had appropriate warnings on them, the farmer said: “The power lines were very obvious as we entered the field.”

 

The wooden poles that the electric power lines were attached to were first installed in 1966 and are maintained by the property’s owners.

Mr Drummond was moving sand to the farm which Mr Heywood planned to use to fill in ruts in his fields when the crane came into contact with the overhead wire.

 

Speaking after Mr Drummond’s death last year, his family paid tribute.

 

"Matthew’s death has left us all devastated. Matthew was a hardworking man who loved to work outdoors.

 

"Matthew was always happy to be working with machines and we take some comfort from the fact that he died doing what he loved.

 

"Matthew was a loving dad to his children and a fantastic husband, son and brother.

 

"Matthew refused to grow up, he was always the joker and he loved life. We will all miss him forever."

 

The inquest continues.

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