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Tower climber falls, dies: Seattle man dies in fiery fall from high-voltage line

Tower climber falls, dies: Seattle man dies in fiery fall from high-voltage line, Officials are investigating why a Seattle man climbed a 200-foot tower, touched a high-voltage power line, and fell 50 feet to a platform below.

The Washington Post on May 3 said the man, who has yet to be identified by the King County medical examiner’s office, was apparently electrocuted. His body fell to a platform where it was recovered by the Seattle Fire Department.

Firefighters found a cap and a cell phone next to the body but little else to indicate why he climbed the tower early Friday, said fire department spokesman Kyle Moore.

“We don’t know why he climbed the tower,” added police spokesman Renee Witt. “There’s nothing to indicate it was something other than an accidental death from trespassing.”

The tower carries 120,000-volt lines across the Lake Washington Ship Canal in the Fremont neighborhood.

The Seattle Fire Department initially responded to a call about 12:30 a.m. Friday of a transformer fire. Thereafter, reports of crackling sparks and a man falling came in.

Local utility company Seattle City Light was consulted, and they said it was too dangerous for firefighters to attempt to climb up to the man, Moore said. A Snohomish County helicopter was called in, who spotted the body on the platform and indicated no signs of life.

City Light then cut power so a technical rescue team could climb up and recover the body from the platform about 150 feet off the ground. The recover took approximately six hours.

Only one customer was without power during the recovery, said Seattle City Light spokesman Peter Clarke.

Clarke said that in his 13 years with the city utility, it was the first time he’d seen an accident like this, and that only a person who was “very determined” could climb the lattice of metal in the tower legs.

“We’re going to be reviewing that to see if we can make it less easy,” Clarke advised.

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