Police identify Big Island woman electrocuted after live power line falls onto car

Police say she was electrocuted after a power line fell on her car in Pahoa. A man in that same car escaped with only minor injuries.
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:44 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 10:16 PM HST
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PAHOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Island police have identified the woman electrocuted in a tragic accident after a power line fell on her car in Pahoa.

Authorities said the woman killed in the incident was 58-year-old Cindy Lehuanani Gonsalves-Pascual.

Police said a 59-year-old man in that same car escaped with only minor injuries.

A witness captured a picture Tuesday night of the downed lines sparking while the ground appears to be on fire behind the car.

Police confirm the vehicle was parked in a driveway on a property near Oopu Street and Kahakai Boulevard when a tree branch snapped, toppling power lines. The downed wires left draped across the car and on the ground.

Investigators say the man was able to squeeze through the car’s rear window and get to safety. The woman tried to follow him but was electrocuted after falling from the window onto a galvanized gate.

The man was knocked to the ground by the electrical current trying to save her. An autopsy has ruled her death accidental.

“It is a tragedy for sure,” said Damien Kim, business manager and financial secretary of IBEW Local 1186.

He said if you ever find yourself in the same situation the first thing you should do is call 911 — and stay where you are.

“We ask that you remain in the vehicle because with the power lines down you’re safer in the car with the rubber tires of your car insulating you from getting shocked or electrocuted,” Kim said.

If you have to get out because of fire or smoke coming into the vehicle:

“Open the door. Do not touch any metal part of the frame of the car and jump out with two legs so that you hop on the ground. Then while you’re on the ground to get to safety you shuffle your feet until you reach a safe point,” he said.

He says that’s at least 30 to 50 feet away.

If you’re a bystander, your first instinct may be to help. But unless you know exactly what you’re doing Kim says the best thing to do is call 911.

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