ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A utility worker was killed while cutting a tree and trying to restore power in Alexander County Wednesday morning.
The incident occurred just before 4:30 a.m. at the intersection of Mount Ridge Church Road and Dover Church Road which is west of Taylorsville.
The worker, identified as 31-year-old Brian Keith Wilmoth, was cutting down a tree that had fallen on a power line. As he cut the tree in two, the power lines sprang upward, threw the tree on Wilmoth and killed him.
The victim was working for Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and Energy United.
Other crew members rushed to help but it was too late, said Sheriff Chris Bowman.
"There was nothing that could be done," the sheriff said.
Officials say cutting trees and clearing debris near power lines is extremely dangerous. Ellendale Assistant Fire Chief David White says his crews are required to wear protective gear. He believes the man who was killed was wearing proper equipment. Still, he says, it is no guarantee against injury or worse.
Officials do believe what happened Wednesday morning was just an accident, but OSHA and other officials will be looking into the situation.
"Just very tragic," said Bowman.
The victim, who is from Wilkes County, leaves behind a wife and three children.