January 17, 2012

Worker dies in fall from Saco transmission tower

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SACO — A 44-year-old man fell to his death Monday while working on an electrical transmission tower off Boom Road.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the circumstances that led to the death of John R. Plante of Oakland, Maine.

Plante was working high up on one of the poles that is part of a Central Maine Power Co. line upgrade in the area when he fell about 55 feet just before 4 p.m., said Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Holland.

The workers typically wear two types of safety harnesses, Holland was told, but it's not clear what caused the mishap. There is no indication of foul play.

"It appears to be an accident with tragic results," Holland said. "He survived the fall but by the time they got him to Maine Medical Center shortly after, he passed away."

Emergency medical crews were hampered by the remote location of the pole more than a quarter-mile from the road, Holland said. The fire department's off-road vehicle had to be used to transport him to the waiting ambulance, he said.

The state medical examiner will investigate the death to determine the cause and manner and OSHA will seek to determine what precautions should have been taken to prevent the fall.

CMP is conducting a $1.4 billion upgrade of its 350 miles of transmission lines that run from Orrington to the New Hampshire border. The project involves building a new set of 345-kilovolt towers, like the large wooden structures visible from Interstate 295 north of Topsham.

Plante worked for a subcontractor called Hawkeye LLC, a company based in Hauppauge, N.Y.

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