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  • Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

    3 people electrocuted, killed in irrigation ditch

    The Associated Press
    BLACKFOOT, Idaho — Three people from Idaho were electrocuted in an irrigation ditch, including a woman apparently trying to rescue a dog and two men who went into the water in an attempt to rescue her.
    Bingham County officials found the bodies in the water Thursday about three miles northwest of Blackfoot.
    Sheriff's Capt. Mark Crowley said 31-year-old Jacquelyn Paulson was reported missing at about 9:30 p.m. when she didn't return from a search for the family dog.
    Two Blackfoot men 41-year-old Michael Lance Hicks and 49-year-old Preston Keith Tarpley apparently went in the water to rescue Paulson and also were electrocuted.
    Crowley says an irrigation pump in the area had shorted out.

    Why did the electrical system not trip a breaker? If 3Ø Delta, what can one do?
    Last edited by Robert Gift; 09-01-2012, 12:16 AM.
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

  • #2
    Three people electrocuted by faulty irrigation pump. Circuit breakers did not trip?

    3 people electrocuted, killed in irrigation ditch

    The Associated Press
    BLACKFOOT, Idaho — Three people from Idaho were electrocuted in an irrigation ditch, including a woman apparently trying to rescue a dog and two men who went into the water in an attempt to rescue her.
    Bingham County officials found the bodies in the water Thursday about three miles northwest of Blackfoot.
    Sheriff's Capt. Mark Crowley said 31-year-old Jacquelyn Paulson was reported missing at about 9:30 p.m. when she didn't return from a search for the family dog.
    Two Blackfoot men 41-year-old Michael Lance Hicks and 49-year-old Preston Keith Tarpley apparently went in the water to rescue Paulson and also were electrocuted.
    Crowley says an irrigation pump in the area had shorted out.

    Why did the electrical system not trip a breaker? If 3Ø Delta, what can be done?
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

      One would first ask, was there a fuse or breaker?
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      • #4
        Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

        we just had something similar happen a week ago in north hollywood. a car crashed into a street light and fire hydrant. the driver was still in the car when a neighbor and a passer by ran out to help the driver. the lite pole wiring had electrified the water that was collecting on the street from the broken hydrant. the 2 rescuers died and another 6 were injured trying to help out. the driver was fine in the car.

        i would imagine that to blow a fuse / breaker of this size, it would take a large arcing to draw excessive amperage. a leak to ground was not enough.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

          water it self is not that good of a conductor, it is the movement and the impurities in it that make it conductive, water is also a resistor, Look up water resistor, orLiquid rheostat at one time a tank of water was used for a variable resistor in heavy loads,

          So just because electricity was flowing through the water does not mean that enough was flowing to trip the breaker or blow the fuse,

          I think this is why the grounding/bonding is so pushed now days, as just because it is leaking to earth/ground does not mean enough amps will flow to cause a fault, if a solid ground wire would have been on the motor thing most likely would have been different.

          At one time they used what was called a "corner ground" where one of the phases was in common with the ground, (it was used in wet areas and well pumps) and the thought was if there was a fault it would trip the breaker, quicker, (was only used on breaker systems),
          Last edited by BHD; 09-01-2012, 10:35 AM.
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          • #6
            Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

            It only takes milliamps through the body to kill - nothing large enough to trip a breaker. The body acts as a high value resistor which is why a few volts won't harm you but the correct voltage which causes your body to draw a few mA will be fatal.

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            • #7
              Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

              Amazing how little some of us know about the way electricty actually works.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

                10 mA is about the threshold of sensation, when most people can 'feel'
                the current and even at that low amperage many can not let go.

                30 mA can cause respiratory failure in about 50% of those exposed.

                60 mA can cause V-fib (heart failure) in about 50% of persons exposed.

                That's why your GFCI is made to trip at 4-6 mA in 40 ms or less.
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                • #9
                  Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

                  Originally posted by Cleanmen2 View Post
                  Amazing how little some of us know about the way electricty actually works.


                  Why don't you educate us ?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

                    Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                    we just had something similar happen a week ago in north hollywood. a car crashed into a street light and fire hydrant. the driver was still in the car when a neighbor and a passer by ran out to help the driver. the lite pole wiring had electrified the water that was collecting on the street from the broken hydrant. the 2 rescuers died and another 6 were injured trying to help out. the driver was fine in the car.

                    i would imagine that to blow a fuse / breaker of this size, it would take a large arcing to draw excessive amperage. a leak to ground was not enough.

                    rick.
                    This happens when the ground fault isn't large enough to trip the breaker (as you alluded to), either one on a pole or in the sub

                    This is why ground wires have to be a certain size. They have to be big enough to not burn up before the gound fault has an opportunity to trip the breaker.

                    There also is a phenomenom called step current which can kill even though the down wire isn't being touched

                    Stay away from down wires

                    Just being too close could be enough to kill you
                    Last edited by jabgpc; 09-18-2012, 07:03 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

                      The story doesn't give enough information to tell what the problem was

                      'Shorted out' doesn't mean much unless you were there to know what happened

                      Don't trust a newspaper accounting of what happened

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                      • #12
                        Re: Three electrocuted by currents from a faulty irrigation pump.

                        Originally posted by jabgpc View Post
                        The story doesn't give enough information to tell what the problem was

                        'Shorted out' doesn't mean much unless you were there to know what happened

                        Don't trust a newspaper accounting of what happened
                        True enough, getting electrocuted means providing a path for sufficient electricity to travel through the body. Just touching water with a live wire is insufficient, as is just touching the hot wire on an AC system or a single pole of a DC system. You get a dangerous shock when you touch both the hot wire/water with one part of your body and provide a ground path with another. Most dangerous is when the path is across the chest, involving the heart, and milliamps can be sufficient to kill. However, you can survive much more current if electricity goes in one side of your finger and out another on the same hand, even if it burns fingers off.

                        Getting electrocuted in water usually involves (1) getting wet and therefore improving conductivity of your skin all over your body, (2) touching a hot wire or hot object or water with a live wire, (3) providing ground on different/opposite part of the body, possibly thru the water or another object. A hot motor casing sitting in water could provide all three conditions without tripping a breaker, although it could trip a ground fault.

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