Hervey Bay painter John Appelhof was electrocuted on the job yesterday afternoon.
Hervey Bay painter John Appelhof was electrocuted on the job yesterday afternoon. Jessica Grewal

Students witness painter's death

SCHOOL students watched in horror yesterday as a tradesman working on a scaffold across from their classrooms was killed by a live cross wire.

Point Vernon painter John Appelhof was working on the top of the sign at the front of Hervey Bay’s coming Mitre 10 store when he was electrocuted about 2.20pm.

It is believed the 53-year-old’s aluminium handled paint roller came in contact with nearby power lines on Old Maryborough Rd.

Witnesses attempted to resuscitate Mr Appelhof before paramedics arrived and took over.

He was rushed to the Hervey Bay Hospital but never regained consciousness.

A swarm of Hervey Bay police and workplace safety officers surveyed the scene which at the time of going to press remained taped off.

Shocked Hervey Bay High School students, some of whom police believe witnessed the accident, lined the path fronting the back gate.

When the bell rang hundreds more joined the crowd and curious parents in the pick-up zone slowed peak hour traffic.

Sergeant Darryn Morris (pictured inset) said preliminary investigations suggested one of the lines may have arced, causing Mr Appelhof to fall off his step into the caged area behind him.

He said Ergon Energy crews had advised him 10,000 volts ran through the lines.

A spokesperson for Ergon Energy said workers were called to secure the scene but all investigations would be carried out by the electrical safety and workplace health and safety offices.

Mr Appelhof leaves behind a wife and family.

Anyone with information can phone police on 4123 8111.