Story last updated at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 27, 2002

Father, son survive electrocution
by Carey James
Staff Writer

An Anchor Point man and his son survived an electrocution Tuesday night after the boom truck they were operating collided with overhead power lines.

Don Ridl, 56, owner of South Central Drilling, and his 29-year-old son, B.J., were getting ready to move some pipe with the boom when the rig collided with the power lines.

B.J. Ridl said he came out of a shed in time to see his father, who was standing on the ground operating the boom's levers, get electrocuted.

"It looked just like the movies," Ridl said. "I ran outside and plowed into him" knocking his father off the levers.

Ridl said he received a shock from his father and was out for a few seconds but recovered quickly and was able to run to the phone and call 911.

When he returned from making the call, his father was unconscious and had suffered burns from the electrical shock, especially on the hand that was holding the lever and at the electricity exit point on his father's shoulder.

Medics from the Anchor Point Volunteer Fire Department responded to the Ridl home, located on the Old Sterling Highway, around 6:15 p.m., treated both men, and transported them to the South Peninsula Hospital.

From the Homer hospital, Don Ridl was transported by jet to Seattle for treatment of his burns, which B.J. Ridl said ranged from first to third degree and were all over his body.

The accident knocked out power to 40 to 50 people in the Cranberry Hills subdivision along the Old Sterling Highway, according to Homer Electric Association spokesman Joe Gallagher. Affected customers were without power for approximately two and a half hours until service was restored at around 9 p.m.

Speaking from the hospital Wednesday afternoon, B.J. Ridl said his father was in good spirits and hadn't suffered internal or life-threatening injuries in the accident. Ridl said he believes, however, that if he hadn't been there to knock his father free, the prognosis could be much worse.

"Right now, I'm just real worried about my dad," he said.

Ridl, who suffered only a dislocated shoulder in the accident, said he is expected to be released today.

Don Ridl is expected to spend several weeks in Seattle recovering.

BJ Ridl said he is just thankful his father is in relatively good health and added his appreciation for the Anchor Point Volunteer Fire Department for its speedy response and excellent care.

"They did a hell of a job," he said.

Ridl said he hopes his experience reminds people to be extra careful when working around power lines.