Heroic colleagues of the Crich Tramway Museum engineer who died yesterday have been praised for their fast response and amazing endeavour to try and save his life.
The popular Derbyshire tourist destination on Matlock Road was closed after a volunteer suffered a suspected heart attack while working on overhead power lines at around 11am on Wednesday, May 20.
The 66-year-old volunteer had just finished performing maintenance work on the tramway village’s electricity cables when he was taken ill and subsequently died at the scene.
After initial reports suspected he had been electrocuted, police have confirmed they are treating the death as natural causes and an inquest is due to be performed.
General Manager of Crich Tramway Village Dr Mike Galer said the man, who has not been named, was a long-standing volunteer at the museum.
He added: “He was a volunteer here since the 1960s - we have a large volunteer workforce since the origins of the facility, being volunteer led it’s what we’re built on.
“It was a huge shock to us to lose a colleague who has been here for so long.
“He suffered a suspected heart attack just after he had finished working on the overhead lines.
“He was up in the 20-foot tower inspection wagon and was just about to go in for a break. The day before there was a minor fault on the line equipment - this happens fairly regularly when things go out of sync or they jam, and require routine maintenance.
It was just before 11am when the museum was about to open to the public that colleagues saw something was wrong, added Dr Galer
“I was about 30 feet away when we realised he was in distress.
“Two of our qualified first-aiders happened to be very close and rushed to him, and I assisted.
“They did everything they could to help him, and I was so grateful for their support before the emergency services arrived five minutes later.”
The museum remained closed for the day but has now returned to normal service.
Dr Galer added: “These things happen and they are obviously very distressing for the team.
“We’re all in today to respect his memory, by carrying on working and to keep the museum open to the public as he would have wanted.”
The man was a dedicated volunteer and respected long-term member at the museum, and as well as providing engineering works was a trustee and board member for engineering in the past.
East Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed they received a call to the museum at 10:47am and teams arrived six minutes later.
A spokesperson said: “We deployed several resources to the scene – two double crew ambulance, two solo paramedics and our HART team who are trained to work at height.
“We also activated the Air Ambulance and the first resource arrived on scene at 10:53.
“The man was treated whilst on the platform, this continued when he had been brought down to ground level. Unfortunately, he was subsequently pronounced deceased and was conveyed to Royal Derby Hospital mortuary.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary had previously stated: “At this stage we are not sure whether or not it involved him touching the cables but the Health and Safety Executive have been called.
They later added: “There’s no suggestion that he did touch the cables.
“We have passed the file on to the coroner.”
The Health and Safety Executive said: “The incident on May 20 is being treated as death by natural causes and not an industrial accident.”
If you would like to offer thoughts and tributes to the man’s family please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.