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Mark Anderson feared for his life after car was surrounded by live wires from downed pole

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Mark Anderson shows damage to his car after a broken utility pole crashed onto it (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Mark Anderson’s car, struck by a downed Belco pole on North Shore, Pembroke, after he was freed from cables and able to reverse (Photograph supplied)
A downed Belco pole on North Shore, Pembroke (Photograph supplied)

A driver trapped in his car by live electrical wires described fearing for his life as he and his passenger spent several minutes waiting for rescue.

Bus driver Mark Anderson saw his life flash before his eyes after an electric pole was snagged by a passing truck and crashed onto his car at 1.30pm yesterday.

“I was traumatised, just freaking out,” he said. “I was driving and out of the corner of my eye, this pole was cracking and sparking and then falling as I tried to stop. It was sparking and on fire.”

The pole came down on North Shore Road near Vaucrosson’s Crescent in Pembroke.

Mr Anderson, known across the community as a gay rights campaigner and entertainer, added: “I was so afraid of the car catching fire and me getting electrocuted that I reversed and backed up a little bit.

“But I knew enough not to get out. They always say if you’re surrounded by wires, don’t get out. The rubber tyres protected me.

“My fear was the car catching fire and not being able to escape because of the live wires.”

He called police and said the ten minutes before firefighters and Belco staff arrived “felt like eternity”.

Firefighters were able to approach the vehicle from the side.

“They could see I was really, really upset, and they told me just to stay in the car until Belco came and shut the power off.”

Firefighters told him he was “very, very lucky – if I had stepped out I probably would have been electrocuted”.

Adding to his alarm was the fact that the road was wet from rain.

Mr Anderson added that vehicles ahead of him, which included a motorcycle rider, were lucky to avoid getting hit.

Onlookers and residents who came from their houses were “just as in shock as I was”, he said.

After he and his passenger were freed, they were told a delivery truck making a turn off the main road had snagged a wire and broke the pole.

“All I know now is that somebody will be paying for my car,” Mr Anderson said. “There’s a dent in the bonnet where the pole hit it.”

A Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the crew from a single truck sent from the Hamilton station found the car “surrounded by live electrical wires”.

He added: “Fire crews along with Belco personnel removed the vehicle from danger.”

Shelly Leman, Belco managing director of transmission distribution and retail, reported that a delivery truck got “entangled in telecommunication cables which resulted in the pole breaking”.

The downed pole caused an outage that left 575 customers in the dark.

Belco rerouted power to get electricity back to 415 customers, with 160 still without power by 5pm as work continued to replace the pole.

She added: “If a member of the public ever comes across a downed power line, which can pose extreme danger, they should always assume the downed line is energised and dangerous and stay at least 35ft away.

“If a person is in a car and wires fall on the car, they should stay in the car until a Belco employee arrives and advises them it is safe to exit the car.

“Do not run from a fallen line. Running may cause your legs to bridge current from a higher to lower voltage and you may receive a shock. Instead, keep your legs together and shuffle away with both feet on the ground.

“Shuffle a safe distance, 35ft or more, away from the downed line and other utility poles.”

A downed Belco pole on North Shore, Pembroke (Photograph supplied)
A downed Belco pole on North Shore, Pembroke (Photograph supplied)

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Published July 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm (Updated July 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm)

Mark Anderson feared for his life after car was surrounded by live wires from downed pole

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