Federal officials are investigating a helicopter crash that killed three Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) contractors Tuesday, June 2, in Fairfield, California.
PG&E, California’s largest utility company, said the three line workers were contracted to work on high-voltage power lines. The Bell 206 helicopter crashed around 1 p.m. after hitting a power line. The aircraft slammed into the ground at the intersection of Lyon and Soda Springs roads in Fairfield, igniting a fire that consumed several acres, CBS Sacramento reported. There were no others aboard the helicopter.
Three firefighters who were responding to the helicopter crash and grass fire were injured when the water tanker they were using to access the site rolled over on its way through a remote area. The firefighters were treated for minor injuries.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Local 1245 Union said two of the line workers killed in the crash were union members: Local 676 Journeyman Jimmy Wasdin, 41, and Local 1245 Fourth Step Apprentice Lineman Travis Shull, 29. The third man, Roscoe Gray, piloted the helicopter. He was not a union member but had close ties to it and to Pacific Gas and Electric Co., according to Sacramento’s KCRA 3.
IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell issued a statement on the loss of the union members underscoring the dangers line workers face every day on the job.
“We are absolutely devastated by the news we received late yesterday regarding this on-the-job accident. Our hearts go out to the families of these two IBEW brothers whose lives were cut short by this terrible tragedy,” Mr. Dalzell said.
“Line work comes with many very serious risks, and the founders of the IBEW understood that above all, our union must stand up for the safety of all electrical and utility workers,” he added. “As we collectively mourn for Brother Wasdin and Brother Shull, we must simultaneously renew our commitment to safety on the job, today and every day.”
According to the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, the crash triggered a large-scale power outage that left more than 38,000 PG&E customers without power. Utility crews de-energized power lines in the area and restored the power around 8:30 p.m.
Beasley Allen lawyer Mike Andrews focuses much of his practice on aviation litigation and currently represents families of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 victims involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In addition to his Ethiopian Airlines crash clients, Mike has represented people seriously injured in a variety of aviation crashes, and the families of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes. Beasley Allen lawyers Kendall Dunson and Evan Allen investigate claims of on-the-job injury or death.