The victims were identified as K Balakrishnan (45) of Ambedkar Colony in Athikaripatti and M Murugan (40) from Kottaiyur Kattu Valavu, near Udayapatti. Both of them have served in the TANGEDCO for over 20 years. While Balakrishnan was a permanent employee and Murugan was a contract labourer.
As scheduled, there was a power shut down at the Udayapatty power station from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday to undertake maintenance. The victims and five other labourers were engaged in the work at Udayapatti SIPCOT industrial estate area. The duo climbed up the transformer while foremen, Muthusamy and Saravanan, and wiremen, Ramasamy, Selvaraj and Chandrasekar, were assisting them from the ground.
As power supply was suspended, Balakrishnan and Murugan tried to fit the earth rod around 11 am. The duo suddenly suffered a electric shock and hung from the transformer. The fellow labourers, who were in a state of shock on seeing the tragedy, immediately climbed atop to retrieve the bodies of their colleagues.
They were rushed to a nearby private hospital at Ammapet, where they were declared ‘brought dead’. The bodies were then taken to the Salem Government Hospital for postmortem.
Preliminary inquiry by police revealed that the incident has taken place due to power return to the transformer from an industrial unit in the SIPCOT industrial estate.
It is learnt that a worker in the unit (to be identified) had turned on the generator without turning off the main switch, resulting in power returning to the transformer. The Police with the help of TANGEDCO staff and officials was conducting inquiry to identify the unit. They warned stringent action on the unit for negligence that claimed the lives of two workers.