(10 April 1999, Florida) Damion, 18, wanted a unique gift for his
girlfriend, who worked as a babysitter for a neighbor's children. The
neighbor thought that a Quaker parrot would be a perfect present. The
beautiful green birds with gray bellies grow a foot long, counting their
tails, and are worth over $100. That was expensive, but the neighbor
figured they could get a baby parrot for free... if they caught it.
Nothing stirs man's blood like the thrill of the hunt. Armed with a long
metal pole, Damion set out with the neighbor and his 15-year-old son to
reconnoiter the nesting spot of the elusive Quaker parrot. The intrepid
trio may have overlooked the fact that they were trespassing on private
property, and that the property was owned by Florida Power. But it is
unlikely that they failed to notice that the nests in question were inside
a 6-foot fence topped with three rows of barbed wire, surrounding an
electric substation. This 230,000-volt transformer was peppered with signs
saying, "Danger High Voltage," and "No Trespassing."
The hunters overcame those obstacles and entered the parrot sanctuary
where about 60 colorful birds fluttered around their large, multi-story
stick nests. Fortunately one of the nests was situated on a transformer
low enough to interest a hunter with a seven-foot metal pole. Damion poked
at the nest hoping to dislodge a hatchling, and 15,000 volts of electricity
found their way down the pole, through his body, and into the ground.
Damion suffered second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body.
The neighbor suffered minor burns between his ankles and knees. His son
was not injured.
"That's just a little hobby they have," said the neighbor's wife. "They
like to go looking for those little baby Quaker parrots. I'm not saying
(they were) right, but this was an accident." And all this came from an
innocent question about a birthday present at a Saturday hamburger cookout!
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Submitted by: Roy Owings
Reference: St. Petersburg Times