Electrical accident in Mason County critically injures two

COPEMISH – Two utility electrical workers were critically injured early Monday while working on power lines two miles southeast of Copemish in northeastern Manistee County.

Two other workers also were injured, but not as severely.

Trooper Karen Roy of the Michigan State Police said one of the workers was from Traverse City, a second was from Bay City, a third from the Flushing area and a fourth from Illinois.

All four, she said, either worked for the Wolverine Electric Cooperative of Cadillac or the Hydaker-Wheatlake Company of Reed City.

Roy said the two most seriously injured, whose names were not released, suffered extensive flash burns and open burns, one of the injured to over 40 percent of his body. Those two who were most seriously injured suffered electrocution and similar burns to their arms, chests and faces. All four suffered injuries due to their exposure to electricity, Roy said.

An emergency helicopter from North Flight EMS out of Traverse City responded to the scene and landed near Rice and Erwin roads. It then flew the most-seriously injured worker to the Blodgett Burn Center in Grand Rapids. The second most-seriously injured worker was transported by ambulance to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, where the third and fourth less-seriously injured were transported, also.

“It appears a pole they were putting into place may have gotten too close to a power line – it became a conductor,” Roy said.

A spokesperson for Wolverine Electric said the accident remains under investigation.

“An accident occurred this morning on Wolverine Power Cooperative’s transmission system near Copemish that resulted in injuries,” said Nancy Tanner, director of communications and member relations. “Our main concern is for the workers involved, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families. We are conducting a thorough investigation.”