Two horses suffered an electric shock and died on Tuesday when a farmer in Vídidalur, northwest Iceland, hit a 300-volt power line with his tractor while carrying hay rolls to feed his horses. The farmer also suffered a shock, but is unharmed.
The farmer, Kristmundur Ingthórsson, was carrying two hay rolls; one in front of the tractor and one behind it. When he reached his herd of 30 to 40 horses, he elevated the hay roll in front so the horses wouldn’t try feeding from it while the tractor was still moving, Morgunbladid reports.
Suddenly it started snowing. “The visibility was poor but good enough for me to see that the horses in front of the tractor were staggering and some had dropped to their knees,” Ingthórsson said. Behind him two horses lay motionless and later proved to be dead.
Ingthórsson noticed that at least three of the tires of his tractor were out of air and then he realized that the elevated hay roll had hit a power line providing electricity for the entire region. “I immediately put the tractor in reverse and felt a powerful electric shock,” Ingthórsson said. Fortunately, by then the tractor had come loose from the power line.
The farmer managed to report his situation with his mobile after a few tries and shortly afterwards the power was cut. An investigation revealed that the power line had come off its fastening, probably in the storm on December 30, and was thus hanging closer to the ground than usual.
“I had thought the impact of the storm on the second-last day of the year was behind me. Then the roof of my vehicle storage blew off, almost in one piece. But that was not the case at all,” Ingthórsson said.