Hanging power line leads to scientist's fatal accident


A 41 year-old biologist has died from serious burns after contacting a hanging electricity cable while jogging through an Essex wheat field.

Dr James Kew was running along a path with 3 companions on 24 July when he hit the 11,000 volt cable. Although paramedics were called to the field in Newport, Essex, Dr Kew was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two of Dr Kew's fellow joggers were treated for minor injuries caused by electric shocks.

The hanging cable had been spotted at 6.30pm, about 2 hours before Dr Kew's fatal accident. Newport resident Peter Ascot, who was walking the path with a group of 10 people, said: "We saw the cable hanging low and almost touching the wheat. We all remarked on it at the time."

Emergency services cordoned part of the field and requested that power to the cable be isolated by the firm which administers the supply.

Noting the scene had been "very disturbing", a police spokesperson said the Health and Safety Executive had been told about the fatal accident and would be conducting a joint investigation with Essex fire service.

A spokesperson for UK Power Networks said the electricity company was "helping with an investigation" and would be unable to comment on earlier reports that the cable was hanging unusually low.

Dr Kew, a director of biology in the research department at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage, died 2 days before his 42nd birthday.

GlaxoSmithKline paid tribute to its associate. "James Kew was a respected scientist and valued colleague in our research and development organisation. Our thoughts are with his friends, family and his GSK colleagues at this extremely difficult time."

News Archive

Get In Touch