Ketchikan truck tips with worker in bucket

Utility employee suffers bloody nose, sore ribs

Posted: Monday, March 29, 2010

KETCHIKAN - A Ketchikan Public Utilities worker went for a wild ride as he serviced power lines.

The worker was in a bucket at the end of the truck's extended boom when the truck tipped over Friday. The worker suffered a bloody nose and sore ribs.

The worker and another utility employee were on Tongass Avenue, the street that runs along Ketchikan's waterfront, with the truck parked on the ocean side. The boom was stretched above the road to work on power lines across the street. The second employee was on the ground.

Ketchikan Police Department Officer Charlie Johnson witnessed the accident as he drove slowly north with traffic.

"I saw the tires on the left side start coming up off the ground, so I just stopped because I knew that didn't look right," Johnson said. "He didn't have his downriggers out on the truck for the lateral support. I guess it put too much of a load on the suspension and took the whole truck over."

Johnson said he had his radio microphone in his hand to call in the accident before the bucket reached the ground.

The bucket struck about six feet from the base of a utility pole. The truck fell toward its passenger-side wheels with its bottom at a 45-degree angle. The boom remained stretched above the street.

The worker in the bucket stood up right away, Johnson said, and told the officer he was fine.

"He had a bloody nose and some banged-up ribs," Johnson said. "He was attended to by EMS."

Portions of the bottom of the bucket were broken but the rest of bucket appeared to be intact.

"It was really slow and it just slowly tipped over," Johnson said. "There was force, but it wasn't really fast."

Photographs taken around 9:30 a.m. show the downriggers on the truck down. Mike Kline, manger of the utility electric division, told the Ketchikan Daily News he was hesitant to comment on any details and that the position of the downriggers was a detail investigators will review. He would not identify the workers.

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