Investigation launched as jogger dies in collision with low-hanging power cable


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A health and safety investigation has been launched after a man died when he apparently ran into a low-hanging high-voltage cable.

James Kew, 42, from the Saffron Walden area, was out jogging with three other people when he collided with the cable in a field near Newport, Essex, at about 8.40pm yesterday.

It is thought the cable, which carried about 11,000 volts, was hanging across the path.

Police, firefighters and paramedics were called but Mr Kew died instantly. Two other people suffered minor injuries.

Detective Inspector Stephen Jennings visited the scene this morning and met representatives of UK Power Networks.

He said: "We are investigating with the Health and Safety Executive and Fire Service to establish exactly how the man came into contact with the cable.

"This is a thankfully unusual event but it is obviously a tragedy for everybody involved."

Mr Kew was a member of the Saffron Striders running club.

A statement on the club's website said: "It is with the deepest regret we have to announce the death of James Kew, as a result of a tragic accident whilst out running.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this very difficult time."

Mr Kew had been running on a network of paths through farm and woodland to the east of Newport and about half a mile from the nearest road.

It is thought his running mates raised the alarm.

Peter Ascot, who lives in Newport, was out walking with a group of 10 at about 6.30pm yesterday.

He said: "We saw the cable hanging low and almost touching the wheat. We all remarked on it at the time.

"I woke up this morning and saw what happened. I feel absolutely dreadful that I didn't report it - you can't help feeling you could have done more.

"It's unbelievable this has happened. It's absolutely devastating."

A spokesman for UK Power Networks refused to comment on reports locally that the low-hanging cable had been reported earlier in the evening.

He added: "Our engineers were called to an incident at Saffron Walden last night and are currently helping with an investigation.

"Our thoughts at this time are with the family and friends of a man who died and also our employees who helped at the scene."

An area of wheat field was cordoned off today.

The area has been made safe but pieces of cable were still visible laying in the field. Only two of the usual three power cables hung overhead.

A small patch of blackened grass marked the spot where the man died.

Mr Kew was an experienced runner and is currently ranked first out of 58 in the Saffron Striders Championship 2012.

He had previously completed the London Marathon in three hours and five minutes, finishing 1,591st in the race.

He regularly ran 10km races in less than 40 minutes.