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Worker from N.H. electrocuted at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center

August 28, 2008
Lake Placid News
WILMINGTON — An electrical worker was killed around 7 a.m. Tuesday at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center while doing annual maintenance on a transformer that powers a ski lift.

State police and the Olympic Regional Development Authority said William J. Cowie, 44, of Stark, N.H., was electrocuted while testing a transformer that supplies power to a triple chairlift at the Kids Kampus section of the mountain and to a nearby maintenance shop. More than 30,000 volts of power run through that electrical box, ORDA spokesman Sandy Caligiore said this morning.

Cowie died instantly from cardiac arrest due to electrocution, according to an autopsy done by Dr. C. Francis Varga at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. Essex County Coroner Walter S. Marvin ruled that the cause of death was accidental.

Cowie was an employee of an electrical company called Transformer Services Inc. from Concord, N.H. that had contracted with ORDA to perform yearly testing on the ski center’s transformers. The company had just started the multi-day job on the morning of the accident, Caligiore said. The tests still need to be done but are on hold for now.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified and will probably investigate the incident, Caligiore said, and state police said their investigation is continuing.

—George Earl and

Peter Crowley


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