Update: The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the victim as Christopher G. Johnson of Everett.
A man died Monday after accidentally walking into a downed power line on a trail near the Mountain View Diner in Gold Bar.
Restaurant server Jamie Ferguson said she and other staff watched a surveillance video of the incident. The man had his head down and was wearing a cap. The Puget Sound Energy line hovered at about head level — he didn't see it coming, she said.
“It's just a horrible situation, and no fault of the gentleman's,” Ferguson said.
Her coworker was taking out the trash when they discovered the man, she said. The call came in to Fire District 26 around 5:48 p.m., said Fire Chief Eric Andrews. Responders arrived within about four minutes. Staff from the Snohomish County Public Utility District also responded to shut off electricity to the live wire, he said.
Andrews said the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office were also at the scene. When firefighters arrived it was obvious the man was dead, and had been badly burned, he said.
“With that high of a voltage that went through him very rapidly, it caused a lot of damage,” he said.
PSE communications director Grant Wringle said an investigation into why the 115,000-volt power line fell is underway. Staff at the Bellevue-based energy utility responded immediately, “and were on scene as quickly as possible,” he said.
The line was repaired, and staff worked to secure the area throughout Monday night and into Tuesday morning, Wringle said. Staff will continue to monitor the site, and are inspecting the entire length of the line that runs along U.S. Highway 2, he said.
Wringle said the death is “a tragic accident,” and people interacting with downed lines is not a frequent occurrence. He said at this point the company is not sure what caused the line to break.
“You just really don't know until the investigation is finished — it would be speculation otherwise,” he said.
Wringle said to stay safe people should treat all downed lines as if they are live, and to remain at least 60 feet away at all times. He said usually devices installed in the system should shut off power to a damaged wire, but they have the potential to fail.
The county medical examiner's office has not yet released the identity of the man who was killed in the incident.