US

Pregnant mum, her boyfriend and brother fatally electrocuted – but baby survives ice storm

Three people have died from electrocution after slipping on ice into a power line that fell on a car during a storm in Portland, Oregon.

Devastated father Ronald Briggs said his 15-year-old son Ta’Ron, and his 21-year-old daughter – who he did not name – died after slipping into the live wire while trying to save her nine-month-old baby boy from the crushed SUV.

The daughter’s boyfriend also died after he slipped and his foot touched exposed wire while also trying to save the child.

Mr Brigg’s daughter, who was also six months pregnant, screamed to her boyfriend to get the baby before she was electrocuted, prompting her brother Ta’Ron to run and try to help until he suffered the same fate.

In this image made from a video provided by KGW, authorities work the scene Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, in Portland, Ore, after a power line fell on a vehicle, killing three people and injuring a baby during an ice storm that turned roads and mountain highways treacherous in the Pacific Northwest. (KGW via AP)
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The icy scene in Oregon where three people died after being electrocuted. Pic: AP

“I told him, ‘Don’t go down there – try to get away from them,” Mr Briggs said.

“And he slid, and he touched the water, and he, and he died too. I have six kids. I lost two of them in one day.”

“It just hurt,” he said. “Being a good father cannot solve this right now.”

In this image made from video provided by KGW, police tape hangs from a speed limit sign on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, in Portland, Ore., near the scene after a power line fell on a vehicle killing three people and injuring a baby during an ice storm. (Joe Raineri/KGW via AP)
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Pic: AP

‘Heroic’ teen

Remarkably, the baby survived the ordeal, after being saved by neighbour Majiah Washington, who had witnessed the entire event.

“I was concerned about the baby,” 18-year-old Ms Washington said, “nobody was with the baby”.

Managing to avoid the live wire, she told a news conference how she grabbed the baby.

Majiah Washington listens to a reporter's question during news conference at the Portland Fire & Rescue headquarters on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, in Portland, Ore. A power line fell on a parked car in northeast Portland on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring a baby during an ice storm. Washington, who saw the incident unfold through her window, rushed outside to grab the baby from one of the people lying in the street to save its life. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)
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Neighbour Majiah Washington managed to save the nine-month-old without being electrocuted. Pic: AP

Rick Graves, a spokesperson for Portland Fire and Rescue, praised Ms Washington for her heroism, confessing he didn’t understand how she and the baby were not electrocuted.

“We do have fortunately with us a toddler that is going to be able to thrive and do what they possibly can as they move forward,” Mr Graves said. “And they are here, in part, because of the heroic acts of a member of our community.”

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Mr Briggs told Portland television station KGW that his daughter had come over to use the internet after hers had gone out during the storm.

He and his wife had just got into their own car when they heard a loud boom and saw their daughter’s SUV on fire, the TV station reported.

It comes as the Pacific northwest of America has been battered with snow, freezing rain and ice in the past week.

Extreme temperatures have been blamed for at least 10 deaths in Oregon, along with a further five in Seattle due to hypothermia.

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