Injured lineman set to leave Seattle hospital

Zaz Hollander

The journeyman lineman who sustained electrical shock injuries while working on a Matanuska Electric Association project near Eklutna was expected to leave a Seattle hospital on Friday, according to his employer.

The 35-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was part of a four-person crew working on de-energized powerlines near a new plant going up next to the Glenn Highway when he was injured at about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, a Northern Powerline Constructors representative said. Even though power was cut to the line to allow the work to be done, electricity flowing in nearby wires induced enough current in the supposedly dead line that it produced a severe shock when the man touched it with his hand, authorities said Thursday.

Responders from Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co. ferried LifeMed Alaska medics to the site. The man suffered burn wounds to his hand and chest, officials said.

The helicopter took the man to Providence Alaska Medical Center and he was later transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

"He called my general foreman this morning and told him he was expecting to be released this afternoon," Jason Hodges, Northern Powerline vice president and spokesman said Friday. "There's been no issues."

The injured worker has family in the Seattle area and doctors have told him to stick around and come back in seven days for a checkup, Hodges said.

The company, contracted by Matanuska Electric, is conducting an investigation into the incident as is Alaska Occupational Safety and Health.

Hodges said he wasn't at liberty to say whether such accidents are unusual or how they can be prevented because of the ongoing investigation.

"We're just really happy that he's better," he said. "This is a family company and this kind of thing really hurts."

Reach Zaz Hollander at or 257-4317.