An electrician working from an aerial lift was thrown to his death in New York city in the early hours of yesterday morning after this platform was clipped by a passing truck.
The man Jose Polanco, 59, worked for Welsbach Electrical contractors that has the contract to maintain traffic lights and other lighting equipment for New York city. The incident occurred just after he had started a job working on an overhead traffic light in Elmhurst, in the borough of Queens. He was working from an Altec van mounted platform at a height of around four to five metres, when a passing box van owned by the Bakewell delivery company clipped the bottom of the lift bucket forcing it upwards and creating a catapult effect that threw him out of the platform. He does not appear to have been wearing a harness and lanyard.
The sad thing is he had only telescoped into position over the street a minute of so before the truck, which appears to have been travelling at speed, came by. The platform remained intact and in place, and was in fact able to be lowered into an almost fully stowed position and driven off by a co worker – although the structure was clearly distorted from the impact.
The truck driver was questioned by police and tested for alcohol or narcotics and was found to be all clear. He was later allowed to go on his way. Polanco however died later in hospital from a cardiac arrest. His employer Welsbach Electrical issued the following statement: "It is an unspeakable tragedy. Every single person deserves to go home from work. Right now, we are gathering the facts."