Bangkok Post

Man electrocuted grabbing bag of cash from power lines in Thailand

Man dies trying to retrieve a bag with less than a tenth of the money he thought it contained

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 June, 2017, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 June, 2017, 4:34pm

By Manit Sanubboon

A man was electrocuted while trying to recover a bag of money tied to a balloon snagged on high-voltage power lines on Wednesday afternoon.

The incident occurred beside Suwansorn Road near Phra Prong village in Kabin Buri district.

After rushing to the scene, Kabin Buri police found a man, identified as Ratthawut Phanompha, 20, lying unconscious near a 20-metre-high power pole opposite a local shrine. A 10-metre long bamboo stick with a sickle tied around one end, and a crane truck were found nearby.

Emergency service personnel performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the man, but to no avail. The man later died.

Kabin Buri district chief Wanlop Prawatwong said that three months earlier, local people held a merit-making rite at the shrine to pay respects to the relics of the dead, and released balloons into the sky as part of the rite. One balloon was attached to a bag said to contain 9,999 baht (US$294).

The balloon had become snagged on the power pole opposite the shrine. Several people had previously tried — unsuccessfully — to climb up the pole to take the money, the district chief said.

Ratthawut, accompanied by his wife, made his attempl on Wednesday.

He hired the crane truck for 2,000 baht (US$59) to raise him high enough to reach the balloon atop the power pole, planning to use the sickle tied to the bamboo stick to hook the money, said his wife, who did not want to give her name.

But the truck brought him into contact with the high-voltage power line, she said. He was electrocuted, and tumbled to the ground.

The man’s body was sent to Kabin Buri hospital for autopsy.

Following the incident, provincial electricity officials were called in to take down the deflated balloon, and found only 825 baht in the bag (US$24) — not 9,999 baht, as the dead man had believed.