20 Dec 2017

Man electrocuted while cutting power to stereo

7:21 pm on 20 December 2017

A man who tried to stop loud noise from a stereo at a Northland camping ground was electrocuted when he cut through a power cord, a coroner has found.

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The pliers were left embedded in the victim's hands after he cut through the live power cord. Photo: 123RF

Matthew Andrew Smith had been camping with his friend, Richard Vorschezang, at the Whangaruru Beachfront Motor Camp in Oakura Bay at the start of 2015.

On 13 January, neither man was able to sleep because of a nearby stereo and Mr Smith - who became frustrated by the noise - went to go and disconnect the power.

Coroner Debra Bellsaid the 26-year-old was found by another camper, Joshua Basnett, who received an electric shock when he tried to rouse him.

Mr Basnett said he saw smoke coming from Mr Smith's body.

Mr Vorschezang said he was woken up by the commotion and found his friend lying face down.

When he rolled Mr Smith over, he found his friend's pliers embedded into him.

The coroner said a metal Leatherman multi-tool was found fused into Mr Smith's hand and the half-cut cord was still connected to the power source.

Mr Vorschezang described Mr Smith as his best mate, who he had known for at least 10 years.

Energy Safety New Zealand said the campground did not have residual current devices (RCDs), but under law they are only required at new sites.

The coroner has recommended RCDs be installed at all camping and caravan parks to protect people from electric shocks.