One dead, one injured in power-line accident Feds probe fatal accident; Investigators seek cause of construction electrocution
By Joyce L. Miller
CAMDEN COUNTY - Federal investigators are attempting to determine the cause of a construction accident that left one person dead and a second in critical condition when a drilling rig hit overhead utility lines. Nicholas Volkerding, 19, of Marthasville, Mo. was killed in the accident. He and his father, John Volkerding, 49, were part of a crew drilling holes for a billboard along Highway 54 in the Linn Creek area. Nicholas Volkerding's death has officially been ruled an electrocution. His father was also injured in the accident and was taken to the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics in Columbia in critical condition. Representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have cordoned off the site of the accident. They are trying to determine if equipment failure or operator error caused the accident. According to the Camden County Sheriff's Department, the accident was reported around 10:45 a.m. Monday morning by the owner of a sign company who was overseeing the installation of a billboard. Nicholas Volkerding was electrocuted when the drilling rig became entangled in overhead electrical lines. The overhead line was carrying 7,200 watts of electricity. In order to get to the victims and clear the scene of equipment, AmerenUE was called in to shut down electricity to the area at a nearby substation. The sheriff's department said there were crews from the drilling company and the sign company on the site when the accident occurred. The Volkerdings worked for BMS Drilling of Brumley. John Volkerding is listed in critical condition with extensive burns. It is unclear where John Volkerding was standing when struck by the electricity. His son was standing on the ground near the drilling equipment.