Accident: Farmer drives around with a tractor mast – tens of thousands without electricity

A 16-year-old drove a tractor over the mast of a high-voltage line in Weilerswist. The result was a widespread power failure.

A 16-year-old farmer snapped the mast of a high-voltage power line with his tractor, causing a widespread power outage that affected tens of thousands. Parts of the Euskirchen and Düren districts as well as the Rhein-Erft and Rhein-Sieg districts were without electricity, said a spokeswoman for the distribution network operator Westnetz on Thursday. In the meantime, 65,000 people were affected. The supply was restored a good four hours after the accident.

An overhead line with 110,000 volts was affected. On the advice of the authorities, a second, parallel connection was also disabled to be on the safe side, said the Westnetz spokeswoman. As a result, three Westnetz substations in Erftstadt-Lechenich, Weilerswist-Vernich and Zülpich went offline.

Tractor drives around power pole – large-scale power failure in the districts of Euskirchen and Düren

According to the police, the 16-year-old drove into a cornfield in Weilerswist in the Euskirchen district at around 11:15 a.m. against the power pole. The cause of the accident is still unclear, said a police spokesman. The youth suffered minor injuries, as did a couple who were driving their car on the nearby county road and crashed into the power line.

According to the Euskirchen police, the mobile network was also partially affected. All fire brigade equipment houses were therefore manned as contact persons for emergencies. Where there was no electricity, the landline network was also affected. The police also increased their presence in the area. In the Rhein-Erft district, there are parts of a hundred on site who were already in the vicinity for a planned operation. According to a city spokesman, a good 29,000 citizens, i.e. almost two thirds of the residents, were affected in Erftstadt alone. After the electricity was back in the Erftstadt area, it said: “Dangerous situations or criminal offenses in connection with the power failure are currently not known.”

Tractors, combine harvesters and other vehicles in agriculture and forestry may be driven from the age of 16 with the appropriate driving license for a specific purpose. However, the working machines must not be faster than 40 km/h due to their design. (talk to dpa)

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